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How do I register as a doctor in the UK?

16th Mar, 2022

How do I register as a doctor in the UK?

Do you need a GMC Registration to work in the NHS?

To become a UK doctor, you must be registered with the General Medical Council (GMC). This governing body ensures that doctors in the UK are properly licensed before they can work in a healthcare setting.

Find out more about the GMC Register.

What English language requirements do you need to work as a Doctor in the UK?

UK doctors need to communicate clearly and efficiently with both patients and colleagues. As part of your GMC registration, you must prove that you’re proficient in the English language. 

The following language proficiency tests are accepted by the GMC:

  • OET: The Occupational English Test tests your English proficiency when placed in situations within healthcare environments. The test comprises 4 sections: speaking, listening, reading and writing. To pass the OET, you must achieve a minimum grade B in each section. A passed test is valid for 2 years. Learn more about the OET.
  • IELTS: The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) also comprises 4 sections. To pass this test, you must achieve a score of at least 7.5. Learn more about IELTS.
  • A Primary Medical Qualification that has been taught or examined in English for at least 75% of the qualification will also be accepted by the GMC. However, this must have been taken within the last 2 years or you must be able to prove that you have been working in an English-speaking country for a minimum of 2 years. You’ll also need references from any hospital you’ve been working in, where you have been communicating effectively in English with both patients and colleagues.

Will you be interviewed by the NHS Trust?

Before you can be offered a healthcare job in the UK, the NHS Trust will review your CV and arrange to conduct a virtual interview, where they will ask you questions about your qualifications, your experience and your clinical competency. Remember to research the Trust and brush up on your interview skills well in advance. This is also the perfect opportunity to ask the Trust anything you’d like to know, so be sure to prepare any questions you have beforehand. 

As with any virtual interview, remember to check your surroundings, pay attention to your personal presentation (hair, clothing etc.), ensure you’re in a quiet location, and test your device for image and sound quality. 

What visa do you need to be a Doctor in the UK? 

Health and Care Worker visa

To work in the UK as a doctor from overseas, you’ll need to apply for a Health and Care Worker visa. Please note that any family members wishing to join you in the UK will require a separate application. Before applying for a Health and Care Worker visa, you must have a confirmed job offer. Your visa could last up to 5 years, after which time you would need to apply for an extension should you wish to stay living and working in the UK. After 5 years, you can also apply for ‘indefinite leave to remain’ - this is an application to settle permanently in the United Kingdom. 

A Health and Care Worker visa application can be submitted up to 3 months before the start date of your confirmed healthcare role. It typically takes up to 3 weeks to receive a decision.

How will working in the UK affect your grade?

It’s highly common for Consultant Doctors coming to the UK from overseas to start out in a lower grade than in their home country. However, if a doctor can prove their skills and capabilities, they can expect to move up within 3-6 months. However, certain specialties*, such as Oncology, Psychiatry, Respiratory or Breast Radiology, may be an exception to this rule and could result in an immediate Consultant role. This will depend entirely on the NHS Trust you will be working for.

*True to March 2022

Are you looking for UK doctor jobs? 

At Your World Healthcare, we have a dedicated team of friendly recruitment consultants, who are ready to help you take the first steps towards a bright NHS career. Find out more about becoming a doctor in the UK by contacting us on +44 (0) 207 220 0830 or email [email protected].