Where doctors are the priority

What you need to work in the UK

There are certain requirements a doctor should consider before they apply for work in the UK.  These vary from country to country and the details below refer mainly to those making applications from outside of Europe.
Note:  The following information is provided as a general guideline and we endeavour to keep it up-to-date.  However, we do include links to appropriate websites where full and up-to-date information can be found; we recommend you visit these.

Considering an application for a UK post
The following elements are all required to enable you to practice within the United Kingdom.  Please read the following carefully to assess the likelihood of our being able to put you forward for a post.  It may be that you currently don’t have GMC registration for example; this is not insurmountable but requires you to take certain steps to enable you to increase your chances of working in the UK.

1 GMC Registration
You have to have registration with the General Medical Council.
Registration with the GMC is usually obtained through:
a) Sitting the PLAB exam. or
b) Through having a recognised higher qualification such as MRCP.  A copy of the approved qualifications can be found at here – med_perm_appendix

You will have to obtain an There are numerous visa types available through the UK Border Agency (UKBA) although the Tier 2 Visa is the one most likely to be relevant for doctors wishing to work in the United Kingdom.
For more information: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/workingintheuk/tier2/
For full information regarding the different types of visa please see the main UKBA site: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/working/
Tier 2 visas can be extended to spouse and family members and this will be discussed with you if appropriate.  We use the services of an approved immigration advisory company and they will be able to assist you with the collation and processing of your visa documentation. There is no charge for this service; you will just be required to pay the actual Visa charge. This varies by country. If your requirement for Visas is over and above the ‘norm’, then there may be an additional charge to assist you with the processing. The company providing this service reserves the right to refuse to process an application if it feels it is ‘excessive’.
IELTS result of 7 or more (see below).

Registration can also be obtained through “Sponsorship”, or through having your experience as a Consultant recognised to be equivalent to the UK requirement, but both these routes are uncommon.

Detailed information is at the GMC website http://www.gmc-uk.org

2 IELTS
IELTS is the International English Language Testing System.

IELTS conforms to the highest international standards of language assessment. It tests the four language skills – listening, reading, writing and speaking. IELTS is a secure, valid and reliable test of real-life ability to communicate in English for education, immigration and professional accreditation.

Candidates can sit an IELTS test in 500 locations around the world. This global test has the highest levels of quality control.

On 1 October 2010 there was a change to the IELTS scores the GMC will accept as evidence that an international medical graduate has the knowledge of English necessary for registration with a licence to practise in the UK. This change was the outcome of a detailed review and engagement process and the GMC believes that the new IELTS requirements strike an appropriate balance between the interests of prospective registrants and the interests of the wider public.

The IELTS scores accepted from 1 October 2010 in the academic version are 7.0 in speaking, 7.0 in each of the other three areas tested (reading, writing and listening), and an overall band score of 7.0.

For full information on IELTS and to locate your closest test centre, please go to: http://www.ielts.org

3 PLAB
PLAB is the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board Test.

The PLAB test is relevant for international medical graduates and is one of the ways in which an individual can satisfy the General Medical Council ( GMC ) that they have the knowledge and skills which are necessary to practise medicine in the UK.

The PLAB test is designed to test ones ability to work safely in a first appointment as a senior house officer in a UK hospital in the National Health Service (NHS).

The test is in two parts:
Part 1 is a computer-marked written examination consisting of extended matching questions (EMQs) and single best answer (SBA) questions.  The paper contains 200 questions and may contain images.  It lasts three hours.  The proportion of SBA questions may vary from examination to examination but no more than 30% of the paper is composed of SBA questions. You can have an unlimited number of attempts but you must pass Part 1 within two years of the date of your IELTS certificate.

Part 2 is an Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) which must be taken in the United Kingdom.  It takes the form of 14 clinical scenarios or ‘stations’, a rest station and one or more pilot stations run for statistical purposes, where the marks do not count towards your result.  Each station lasts five minutes. You must pass Part 2 within three years of passing Part 1. You can have four attempts at Part 2. If you fail at the fourth attempt you will have to retake IELTS (unless you are exempt) and both parts of the PLAB test.

You must be granted registration within three years of passing Part 2 of the test.

Qualifications required for PLAB

  • A primary medical qualification (PMQ) for limited registration. Please check the GMC website to see if your qualification is acceptable. See GMC acceptable primary medical qualification
  • Allowed qualifications are those awarded by an institution listed on the Avicenna Directory for Medicine or is otherwise acceptable to the GMC and is currently acceptable to the GMC.’ Please note: the GMC does not accept all primary medical qualifications that are listed on the Avicenna Directory. Please check their acceptable primary medical qualification webpage for further information.)
  • Relevant scores in the IELTS test (academic module) as above.
  • At least 12 months’ postgraduate clinical experience in a teaching hospital, or another hospital approved by the medical registration authorities in the appropriate country. (The test can be taken without this experience, but the candidate will only be granted limited registration at the grade of House Officer – the grade occupied by new medical graduates).

For more information visit: http://www.gmc-uk.org/doctors/plab/index.asp

Passing the PLAB text does not guarantee you will find employment in the UK.  A survey was published recently which you may find of interest:  Prospects of a job after completing PLAB  http://www.gmc-uk.org/doctors/documents/PLAB_Survey_June_2006_to_Sept_2007.pdf

4    Visas

There are numerous visa types available through the UK Border Agency (UKBA) although the Tier 2 Visa is the one most likely to be relevant for doctors wishing to work in the United Kingdom.

For more information:  http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/workingintheuk/tier2/

For full information regarding the different types of visa please see the main UKBA site

Tier 2 visas can be extended to spouse and family members and this will be discussed with you if appropriate.  We use the services of an approved immigration advisory company and they will be able to assist you with the collation and processing of your visa documentation.  There is no charge for this service; you will just be required to pay the actual Visa charge.  This varies by country.  If your requirement for Visas is over and above the ‘norm’, then there may be an additional charge to assist you with the processing.  The company providing this service reserves the right to refuse to process an application if it feels it is ‘excessive’.

5    CV preparation
From your CV a person needs to quickly see:

  • Your ambition
  • Your most recent experience
  • Your core medical and higher medical qualifications
  • The route you would anticipate securing employment in the UK with.

So a first page summary of this information, followed by full detail is what we recommend.

A good quality photograph is always appreciated.

The person reviewing your CV may not be familiar with the places you have worked and trained, so you need (perhaps in an appendix ), to talk a little about the history and reputation of where you worked, and the staff structure of  your place of work.

Roles can vary tremendously between countries so perhaps provide a work load description and what a typical week involves for you.

Testimonials are useful, but you must provide references from your most recent employment.