Can American Doctors Practice in UK

Last Updated on December 22, 2022 by

There are medical knowledgeable facts you are required to have if you are an aspiring medical student or already a medical student. Knowing these things allows you to understand the medical world better. That said, what do you know about ‘can American doctors practice in UK? The article below tells you all you need to know and more.

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About Medicine Entry Requirements

Information for overseas doctors
If you’re looking for information about becoming a doctor in the UK, you’ve come to the right place.

This page describes what you need to know, depending on where you’ve trained, and signposts you to further information.

All doctors must have registration with a license to legally practice medicine and undertake activities restricted by law to doctors, such as writing prescriptions and signing death certificates.

The license to practice is issued by the General Medical Council (GMC) and applies to all doctors in the UK regardless of whether they are working in the NHS or independent sector, either on a full or part time, permanent or locum basis.

It also applies to all levels of registration, whether provisional, full or on the specialist or general practitioner (GP) register.

All doctors intending to practise medicine in the UK are required to be registered with the GMC, follow the GMC’s good medical practice guidance and be subject to the GMC Fitness to Practise actions. Doctors who hold registration but not a licence may be working as an academic or outside the UK. They cannot undertake any of the activities – clinical work – for which UK law requires them to hold a licence to practise.

Doctors who have never been registered with the GMC will have to apply for registration with a licence to practise. They will not be able to apply for registration without a licence.

The requirements for registration in the UK will depend on a number of factors:

your nationality
the country in which you gained your primary medical qualification
the type of work you want to do
whether or not you have completed a period of post-graduate training or an internship
First you should check that you possess an acceptable primary medical qualification to apply for registration. If you are in any doubt you should check your qualifications status with the GMC.

In addition, international medical graduates (IMGs) will be required to demonstrate their medical knowledge and skills, and all applicants may have to demonstrate they are competent in using the English language before they are registered. NHS Employers has published a helpful guide for IMGs on its website.

Being registered with the GMC does not guarantee that you will find employment within the UK.

Non-European Economic Area nationals
If you are not a UK/EEA national you will also need to meet the requirements of UK Visas and Immigration regulations to gain the right to enter and work in UK.

Foundation programme
All UK medical graduates are required to undertake a two-year Foundation Programme immediately following graduation. The Foundation Programme forms the bridge between medical school and specialist/general practice training. Trainees will have the opportunity to gain experience in a series of placements in a variety of specialties and healthcare settings.

Once doctors have completed the Foundation Programme, they may apply for a specialty or general practice training programme.

If you have completed an internship year as part of your degree and are awarded full GMC registration, then you will need to think about entering the foundation programme via a locum post.

Further details are available on the Medical and Dental Recruitment website.

Types of registration
Provisional registration
Provisional registration (alongside a licence to practise) only allows newly qualified doctors to undertake an approved Foundation Year 1 post. The law does not allow provisionally registered doctors to work in any other type of post. On successful completion of Foundation Year 1, you will be able to apply for full GMC registration.

Provisional registration is available to doctors with the following nationality, rights and qualifications:

UK medical graduates who have completed their medical degree at a UK University recognised in the Medical Act 1983
International medical graduates who have an acceptable primary medical qualification and who have passed the PLAB test but who have not completed an internship
Nationals from the EEA, Switzerland and other countries with EC rights who qualified outside of the EEA and Switzerland
Nationals from the EEA, Switzerland and doctors who have EC rights who qualified at EEA or Swiss medical schools
Doctors who have qualified in an EEA member state can apply to do their practical training (internship) in the UK if the practical training counts towards a medical degree which requires this for compliance with Directive 2005/36/EC
Full registration
Full registration enables doctors to work in any form of professional medical practice in the UK, provided they hold a licence to practise. Doctors must, however, also hold specialist registration to take up a consultant post (other than a locum consultant post); and those wishing to work as GPs must be on the GP register.

Doctors qualifying from outside the UK may be eligible to apply directly for full registration if they hold an acceptable primary medical qualification and have completed a period of postgraduate clinical experience (internship).

A doctor will need to provide documentary evidence to support their application. Only original documents can be accepted. To complete the process, all doctors must visit the GMC in person to undergo a pre-registration identity check. A photograph of the doctor will be taken and this will be made available to employers so they can be assured of the doctor’s identity.

UK graduates and IMGs who are new to full registration and taking up a new job, or restoring their names to the register after a prolonged absence from practice, are required to work within an approved practice setting (APS) as assessed by the GMC as suitable for doctors new to full registration. The GMC recommends that EEA graduates ensure that they also work in an APS when they first take up employment in the UK under full registration. Most NHS employers will have approved practice setting status.

The purpose of the APS system is to provide public protection by requiring doctors new, or returning, to full registration in the UK to work within a system with appropriate supervision and appraisal arrangements or assessments. Further information on APS can be found on the GMC website.

Specialist registration
All consultants (other than a locum consultant appointment) must be on the specialist register of the General Medical Council (GMC). To be eligible to apply for specialist registration with the GMC, doctors must have successfully completed a GMC-approved training programme and been granted one of the following certificates:

Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT)
Certificate confirming Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR)
Doctors who have not completed a full GMC-approved training programme and wish to have their training, qualifications and experience assessed for eligibility for entry onto the specialist register must make an application under The General and Specialist Medical Practice Order for a CESR. It is not possible to hold specialist registration without also holding full registration.

GP registration
Since 1 April 2006, all doctors working in general practice in the NHS in the UK (other than doctors in training such as GP registrars) are required to be on the GP Register. This requirement extends to locums.

If you have not completed the UK GP Certificate of Completion of Training programme you will need to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility for General Practice Registration (CEGPR), which will then enable you to be entered on the GP Register.

English language proficiency
Overseas doctors applying for registration must satisfy the GMC that they have the necessary knowledge of English. This may be demonstrated though the International Language Test System (IELTS) or the Occupational English Test (OET)

For the IELTS, candidates will be required to prove that they meet the GMC’s requirements in the academic version of the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) test which has four areas:

Prospective registrants for the GMC’s register must score 7.5 or more overall if using the IELTS.

Further details about the test can be found on the IELTS website

The OET provides an alternative to the IELTS and was introduced on 8 Feb 2018. Further details about the OET are available on the GMC website.

The OET is an international English language test designed specifically for the healthcare sector. It assesses the language communication skills of healthcare professionals who wish to register and practise in an English-speaking environment. It is specifically designed for healthcare professions, and in the UK is an option for doctors, nurses and midwives.

A full list of professional regulatory bodies who accept the test can be found on the OET website

For the OET, candidates will need to achieve a Level B in each skill (listening, reading, writing and speaking) to meet the GMC’s requirements. The test is designed for healthcare professionals with an emphasis on real situations medical staff might encounter.

Further details about the test can be found on the OET website

Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB)
The GMC uses the PLAB test to ensure that international doctors have the basic medical competence and communication skills to practise in the UK. Doctors wishing to take the PLAB test must have already successfully completed the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or Occupational English Test (OET).

The first part of the PLAB test can be taken at a number of test centres overseas, but the second part must be taken in the UK. Further details about the PLAB test, including dates, test centres and costs, can be obtained from the GMC by visiting their website.

Which type of registration is right for you?
The GMC website has information about applying to join the register to help you assess the type of registration you may be eligible to apply for.

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Code of practice for ethical recruitment
Many NHS organisations contract with agencies to help with overseas recruitment campaigns, in line with the Department of Health and Social Care code of practice.

The code is clear that active recruitment from developing countries is unethical. See NHS Employers’ website for more detail. The code of practice also includes key principles such as not requiring candidates to pay a fee up front. If you are asked to pay a fee up front for promises of NHS accommodation or work, please report the request to Action Fraud.

where can american doctors practice abroad

14 Countries Where American Physicians Can Practice Medicine Abroad

  • Australia. American training inclusive of medical school, residency, USMLEs, and board certification is recognized by the Australian Medical Board. …
  • Belize. …
  • Bermuda. …
  • Canada. …
  • Cayman Islands. …
  • China. …
  • India. …
  • Israel.

About Applying for Medicine 2021 UK

Working as a doctor in the UK
Working as a doctor in the UK
Medical Licensing Assessment
Types of registration
How to register
Evidence you need to provide
Being honest in your application
Before you start practising
Ready to apply
Practising medicine in the UK
To practise medicine in the UK you need to hold registration with a licence to practise. Holding a licence allows you to, for example, prescribe medicine and treat patients. If you hold a licence you must also show us your knowledge and skills are up to date through regular checks on your practice, known as revalidation.

Doctors who are not practising medicine or who practise overseas can choose to hold registration without a licence to show they continue to be in good standing with us. This shows that they continue to follow the principles and standards of Good medical practice.

Doctors must be clear whether they are licensed, hold registration only, or neither. It is a criminal offence in the UK for a doctor to give the impression they hold registration or a licence, if they don’t.

To stay on the register, as well as following Good medical practice, you’ll need to keep your contact details up to date and pay an annual fee.

Getting a job as a doctor in the UK
The UK welcomes doctors of all grades and experience.

When you apply for a job, employers will check you are appropriately qualified, experienced and can communicate effectively in English. It is worthwhile checking the job opportunities before you start to make an application to join the UK medical register. You may find it hard to get work as a doctor if you have been away from medical practice for a long time.

We do not hold information about job vacancies. But there are a number of other places you can try – for example:

NHS – the national health service covering England and Wales

NHS Scotland – the national health service covering Scotland

Health and social care in Northern Ireland

British Medical Journal – job section – professional online network for doctors

Medicine Jobs – a jobs portal provided by the Royal College of Physicians

These sites will also give you an idea of the types of jobs available.

Help for international medical graduates
The NHS employers website gives a range of information for doctors from outside the European Economic Area including:

immigration requirements
access to UK training
pay and conditions
evidence of right to work permissions.
Working and training in the National Health Service – a guide for international medical graduates.

If you are new to working in the UK, find out about our free workshops, Welcome to UK practice.

can us doctors practice in europe

About Applying for Medicine 2020

Acceptable overseas qualifications

If your primary medical qualification is from outside the UK and is not a relevant European qualification, we need to make sure it’s acceptable in the UK.

As part of your application, you’ll need to send us a copy of your qualification.

There are some qualifications we already know aren’t accepted in the UK, or are only accepted in some cases. We list them in this guide.

You should check whether your qualification is acceptable before you start an application with us.

Once you have checked your primary medical qualification meets our acceptability criteria, you’ll need to have it (and your acceptable postgraduate qualification, if applicable) independently verified before we can grant your registration with a licence to practise. Read about what this means for you.

Can American Doctors Practice In UK


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