Education And Debate

Postgraduate training for overseas doctors in Britain

BMJ 1994; 308 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.308.6944.1624 (Published 18 June 1994) Cite this as: BMJ 1994;308:1624
  1. S Lowry,
  2. H Cope
  1. International Department, British Medical Association, London WC1H 9JP Overseas Registration Division, General Medical Council, London W1N 6AE.

    Foreign doctors, other than those from the European Economic Area, who want to train in Britain have to satisfy registration and immigration requirements before they can take up a post. The General Medical Council administers the registration regulations. These are quite separate from the immigration formalities, which are handled by the Home Office. The rules on both are complicated, and doctors should seek advice early to ensure that unnecessary difficulties do not add to the inevitable stresses associated with moving to a new country and working in a strange system.

    Foreign doctors wanting to train in Britain have three problems to overcome before they can begin. They must obtain appropriate registration with the General Medical Council; they must satisfy the immigration requirements; and they must find a suitable job. The problems of finding a suitable job are discussed on page 1627 in this issue.1 Registration and immigration are discussed here.

    Role of the General Medical Council

    The General Medical Council (GMC) has been set up by the British government to maintain the registers of medical practitioners and to regulate the medical profession. The system of registration is governed by act of parliament.

    Every doctor will need to hold some form of registration with the council before beginning any work or training that involves clinical contact with patients. For medical work that does not involve direct patient contact it would be the prospective employer who would advise whether registration is needed or not.

    It is unwise to assume that you will be eligible for registration without checking with the council. Potential trainees should get in touch with the council well in advance for advice about registration - six months or more is sensible. Organisations in Britain that sponsor candidates for training may deal with the council on behalf of the candidates, but it is best for …

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