The General Medical Council’s medical register is a full list of all the doctors qualified to work in the UK. Within this, there are different types of registration which doctors must hold to work in different posts in the UK.
All practicing physicians must hold one of these types of registration with a license to practice.
The purpose of provisional registration is to allow medical graduates to complete an approved internship (FY1). After this, trainees will receive a certificate of experience with which they can apply for full registration.
Provisional registration can be held for a maximum of three years and 30 days (1,125 days) only, which would be enough time within which to complete a 12-month internship. This registration will expire after the allotted time, and you will be removed from the register, however, more time can be provided, and you can find out whether you will be eligible here.
What roles can I take with provisional registration?
With provisional registration, the only service post you are able to take is an FY1 service post, other than an approved UK FY1 programme.
Who can apply for provisional registration?
If you are eligible for full registration, you cannot apply for provisional registration.
Applications for provisional registration will be considered from:
UK medical graduate who completed their medical degree at a UK university
Doctors who qualified within certain European countries but do not hold the accompanying certificate required to complete their relevant European qualification – you can see a full list of these countries here.
2. Full Registration
Doctors require full registration to work in unsupervised medical practice in the NHS, UK private practice, or to move onto the second year of their internship (FY2) in an approved training programme require a full license to practice.
What roles can I take with full registration?
With full registration, doctors can take up any post aside from GP posts and substantive consultant posts.
Who can apply for full registration?
There are certain criteria you must meet before you are eligible for full registration:
1. Completed the first year (FY1) of the Foundation Programme in the UK
2. Be a Swiss or UK national (or benefit from enforceable community rights) and have either:
Full registration does not have a time limit, but doctors should note that they are required to go through a revalidation process every five years to avoid the license to practice being withdrawn.
You can read more about the routes to GMC Registration through our IMG Resources library.
3. Specialist Registration
The specialist register is an online list of doctors who are eligible to work as fixed term, honorary or substantive consultants in the NHS, excluding foundation trusts.
If a doctor is on the Specialist Register, it will say so as part of their status on the register, and you will be able to see the specialties (and sub-specialties) they are qualified in, as well as the date they joined the specialist register in each specialty.
Types of Specialist Registration
There are three types of certificates issued by the GMC, and the type of certificate you will receive at the end of your training defines which training route you are on.
You can read more about Specialist Registration for IMGs here.
What roles can I take with Specialist registration?
Doctors who are on the Specialist Register can take up permanent or substantive consultant positions.
Who can apply for Specialist registration?
Eligibility for Specialist Registration depends on your nationality, qualifications and experience. To meet the minimum eligibility requirements to apply you must have either:
A specialist qualification in the specialty you’re applying in
At least six months continuous specialist training in the specialty you’re applying in
You’ll need to provide evidence of how you’re eligible as part of your application. This could be a copy of your qualification or evidence of your employment. In your application you must show that you meet the requirements of the CCT curriculum in your specialty.
4. GP Registration
GP Registration is a requirement for any doctor who wishes to be eligible for appointment to a general practitioner (GP) position in the UK.
Please note that unlike in many countries, GPs in the UK are family and community medicine specialists and if you are an IMG general physician, you would need to apply for full registration, not GP registration.
What roles can I take with GP registration?
Doctors who are on the GP Register can take up posts as General Practitioners in the UK. As well as being on the GP Register, you’ll need to complete a number of other processes before you can start work as a GP in the UK. You'll need to join a Performers List and an Induction or Returner Scheme. You can read more about this here.
Research/ think about the types of evidence you will need and make a plan for your application, particularly if you will have to sit any exams.
So there it is, the different types of GMC registration in a nutshell. This is important to understand, particularly for IMGs looking to relocate to the UK and find work in the NHS. If you have any further questions about GMC registration or your route to the UK, please get in touch with us here.
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