A Histopathologist's route to the UK

  • September 06, 2021
 

There are several routes an overseas histopathologist can take to GMC registration & practicing anatomic pathology in the NHS.

All pathologists looking to secure a job in the NHS, whether you are from inside or outside of Europe, will need to satisfy certain criteria to fully register with the General Medical Council before they can practice in the NHS. As a histopathologist, the criteria you need to meet depends on where you trained, and what qualifications you hold. This article is designed to give you a snapshot of the steps you need to take to start your journey to the UK, no matter where in the world you live.

Click on the hyperlink below that relates to the country where you trained and passed your anatomic pathology residency (specialty training):

Did you train or qualify inside the EEA region? Click here

Did you train or qualify outside the EEA region? Click here



I trained inside the European Economic Area (EEA)

Firstly, it is important to note that where we refer to EEA in this article this refers to all countries inside the EU, including Lichtenstein, Iceland & Norway. If you trained & qualified as a pathologist inside the EEA or Switzerland, then you will have a number of different options potentially available to you. Depending on which country and what year you completed your resdiency or basic medical training, the GMC may automatically recognise your qualifications and grant you either Specialist Registration or General Registration in the UK. Find your countries GMC page here to ascertain if your qualifications will allow you to register for either general or specialist regsitration.

Basic Medical Training: If you have met the basic medical training requirements this this would mean that you would not need to demonstrate your medical knowledge and skills to work as a doctor in the UK and would not need to complete a recognised postgraduate qualification or PLAB to register with a license to practice. You would be granted Full Registration - but not Specialist Registration. 

Specialist Training / Residency: If you have met the criteria listed for your country then you once you completed your GMC application process you would be granted Specialist Registration in your Specialty and can be appointed as a substantive or permanent consultant in the NHS. So as a pathologist, if you hold a Relevent European Specialist qualification then you would be on the specialist register for histopathology, and can be appointed as a substantive histopathologist in the NHS.

So, the main hurdle that you will face is demonstrating that your English skills are of a high enough standard to practice safely as a doctor in the UK & NHS. 


English Language Testing

Any international doctor, regardless of specialty, experience or country of origin, must demonstrate they have sufficient competence of the English language. You can do this by passing either of the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or the OET (OET – Occupational English Test) and some information on the tests can be founde below:

IELTS – a guide for overseas doctors

OET – a guide for overseas doctors


GMC Registration

Having passed your English Language Test, you can now apply for full registration with a licence to practice with the GMC. For full GMC registration you must provide evidence of:

  • Evidence of English language capabilities. This would be either your IELTS, OET or an approved reference from your current or future employer.

AND

  • Evidence of sufficient skill and knowledge. As a pathologist this would either be FRCPath, PLAB or your recognised EEA-qualification.

Understand the registration process in full & by reading our article below: IMG Resources - GMC Registration for overseas doctors


Job search

We recommend starting the job search as early as possible. Demand for European histopathologists in the NHS is ever increasing and the NHS will welcome you with open arms! At IMG Connect we specialise in securing jobs for European doctors in the UK and can offer you a wider range of pathology jobs than are readily available online. Our network extends to Pathology services and HR departments across the UK, so no matter what your grade or specialty we can ensure you will be interviewing for roles well in advance of any relocation plans. In addition, your dedicated consultant will specialise in your field only - so you can take the benefits of having a market specialist working on your case, providing you with all the best opportunities that fit your career needs. Our aim is often to have a job offer on the table before your GMC registration is complete, giving you the peace of mind of having an agreed contract in place - leaving you to carefully plan your relocation to the UK.

Take a look at our most recent histopathology jobs here: Job Search


Relocation

Obviously, any doctor’s journey isn’t all exams, registrations and language tests… there’s also the small matter of relocation and settling into life in the UK. Once you have secured your role in the UK, we focus on supporting you and your family with all your relocation plans. This can include, but is not exclusive to, securing accommodation, travel planning, setting up bank accounts & national insurance numbers – every step of the way we are here to help. Have a read through our IMG Library and take in all the beautifully organised information on relocation and UK life to immeasurably help your first days, weeks and months in the UK. Take a look here: IMG Resources – Relocation & UK Life


Tier 2 Visa (Health & Care Visa)

If you are a non-UK national applying from outside the EEA region you will almost certainly need to apply for a visa to work in the UK. Applying as a doctor or nurse has never been easier and there is currently no-restriction on the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) applications that a hospital can make. Furthermore, the list of specialties on the shortage occupation list is due for imminent review and expansion beyond its current list of specialties, potentially widening the scope for easier immigration processes across all specialties in healthcare.

Understand Tier 2 visas and Certificates of Sponsorship in depth by taking a look at our article:

IMG Library - Tier 2 Visa application process & documents needed

Wondering whether you can relocate with your family? Take a look at our blog on the Tier 2 dependant visa below:

Tier 2 Dependant visa - can i bring my family with me to the UK?


Outside of the European Economic Area (EEA)

If you qualified as a histopathologist outside the EEA, then you will have to demonstrate that both your medical knowledge & skills and English Language capabilities meet the level required to practice safely in the UK. As with all doctors coming from outside the UK, you will need to apply for a visa from the UK Home Office. Here we summarise the requirements for pathology doctors, looking at the following:

  • English Language Testing
  • Evidence of Knowledge & Skills - PLAB, FRCPATH or equivalents
  • Tier 2 Visas 
  • Full GMC Registration

English Language Testing

Any international doctor, regardless of specialty, experience or country of origin, must demonstrate they have sufficient competence of the English language. You can do this by passing either of the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or the OET (OET – Occupational English Test) and some information on the tests can be founde below:

IELTS – a guide for overseas doctors

OET – a guide for overseas doctors


Evidence of Knowledge & Skills in Pathology

Histopathologists who've trained from outside the EEA and UK must prove to the GMC they have sufficient knowledge & skills to practice safely in the UK. For pathologists this can be done through three main routes:

  1. PLAB
  2. Royal College qualification - Fellowship of the Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPath)

Professional & Linguistics Assessment Board (PLAB): The PLAB exam is a two-part exam that assesses a doctor’s ability to work safely as an SHO in the NHS, as such it does not demonstrate ability in pathology specifically. For this reason, PLAB tends to be a route for junior doctors who have not already chosen their field of specialisation in medicine. That said, for some senior doctors PLAB can be an attractive option, offering a quicker route to the UK, whilst still securing competitive salaries. If taking this option, pathologists can then take up training or a more senior post once they have established themselves in the NHS. Take a look through our comprehensive guides on PLAB:

PLAB – a guide for overseas doctors

PLAB 1 – a closer look

PLAB 2 – a closer look

Royal College Qualification of FRCPath: Attaining a Royal College qualification is a preferred path for doctors who have already chosen their field of specialism i.e. Pathology. For senior pathologists taking this route, they will gain access to more senior, well-paid jobs in the specialism of their choice. The Royal College of Pathologists is the Professional Body that regulates the specialism of Pathology in the UK, and Membership of the Royal College of Pathologists (FRCPATH) is the full qualification attainable by examination. For overseas doctors, attaining FRCPATH will satisfy the knowledge & skill criteria for GMC registration and facilitate application for more senior roles in UK Pathology. Take a look at our complete guides on Membership of the Royal College of Pathologists as per your sub-specialty to understand more:

FRCPATH in Histopathology – a guide for overseas doctors


Tier 2 Visa (Health & Care Visa)

If you are a non-UK national applying from outside the EEA region you will almost certainly need to apply for a visa to work in the UK. Applying as a doctor or nurse has never been easier and there is currently no-restriction on the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) applications that a hospital can make. Furthermore, the list of specialties on the shortage occupation list is due for imminent review and expansion beyond its current list of specialties, potentially widening the scope for easier immigration processes across all specialties in healthcare.

Understand Tier 2 visas and Certificates of Sponsorship in depth by taking a look at our article:

IMG Library - Tier 2 Visa application process & documents needed

Wondering whether you can relocate with your family? Take a look at our blog on the Tier 2 dependant visa below:

Tier 2 Dependant visa - can i bring my family with me to the UK?


GMC Registration

With everything in place, you can apply for full registration with a licence to practice with the GMC. Remember, for full GMC registration you must provide evidence of:

  • Evidence of English language capabilities

AND

  • Evidence of sufficient skill and knowledge (PLAB, FRCPATH or equivalent)

Understand the registration process in full & by reading our article: IMG Library - GMC Registration for overseas doctors


Job search

We recommend starting the job search as early as possible. Demand for FRCPath qualified histopathologists in the NHS is incredibly high, and you will have a wide variety of job opportunities available across the UK. The FRCPath qualification indicates that you can practice independently, as a consultant in the NHS. Our network extends to Pathology services and HR departments across the UK, so no matter what your grade or specialty we can ensure you will be interviewing for roles well in advance of any relocation plans. In addition, your dedicated consultant will specialise in your field only - so you can take the benefits of having a market specialist working on your case, providing you with all the best opportunities that fit your career needs. Our aim is often to have a job offer on the table before your GMC registration is complete, giving you the peace of mind of having an agreed contract in place - leaving you to carefully plan your relocation to the UK.

Take a look at our most recent histopathology jobs here: Job Search


Relocation

Obviously, any doctor’s journey isn’t all exams, registrations and language tests… there’s also the small matter of relocation and settling into life in the UK. Once you have secured your role in the UK, we will focus on supporting you and your family with all of your relocation plans. This can include, but is not exclusive to, securing accommodation, travel planning, setting up bank accounts & national insurance numbers – every step of the way we are here to help. Have a read through our IMG Library and take in all the beautifully organised information on relocation and UK life to immeasurably help your first days, weeks and months in the UK.

IMG Library – Relocation & UK Life

 

Search Vacancies

Ask a question

Check your salary

error: Content is protected !!