A Haematologist’s Route to the UK

  • April 06, 2023

There are several routes a haematologist can take to register with the GMC and practice in the NHS.   

Haematologists looking to secure a job in the NHS must satisfy certain criteria before fully registering with the GMC (General Medical Council) to receive a license to practice. For haematology, these criteria depend on where you received your training, and the qualifications you hold. In this blog, we’ll be giving you a snapshot of the steps you need to take to begin your journey to the UK as an overseas haematologist.

We’ll be covering the following: 

Skip ahead to the relevant section if you know what you’re looking for. 

Recognition of training 

For haematologists who trained in an EEA country (all countries inside the EU, also Lichtenstein, Iceland, Switzerland & Norway), there are several options potentially available to you. 

Depending on the country and year you completed your residency or basic medical training, the GMC may automatically recognise your qualifications and grant you either General Registration, or Specialist Registration in the UK. To find out if your country’s qualifications will allow you to register for either GMC registration; check the relevant GMC page here

Knowledge and Skills for EEA Haematologists 

Basic Medical Training: If you meet the requirements for basic medical training, you will not need to demonstrate your medical knowledge and skills to work as a doctor in the UK, and would therefore not need to complete a Royal College postgraduate qualification or PLAB to register with a license to practice. You would be granted full registration in this case, without Specialist Registration. 

Specialist Training / Residency: If you meet the criteria for entry onto the Specialist Register, then once you have completed the GMC application process, you would be granted Specialist Registration in haematology and can be appointed as a substantive or permanent consultant in the NHS. So as a haematologist, if you hold a Relevant European Specialist qualification, you would be put on the specialist register for haematology and can be appointed as a substantive haematologist in the NHS. 

As an EEA haematologist, the main hurdle you will face will be demonstrating that your English skills are of a high enough standard to practice safely as a doctor in the NHS. 

Therefore, for European haematologists, this is most likely the easiest route to becoming GMC-registered and being able to practice haematology in the UK. 

If you do not meet the GMC requirements for your training to be approved for general or specialist registration, other routes you may consider to GMC registration include PLAB, or (via the postgraduate route) the Royal College exams for haematology (FRCPath). You can find out more about these alternative routes here. 

Knowledge and Skills for non-EEA Haematologists 

If you qualified as a haematologist outside the EEA, then you will have to demonstrate that both your medical knowledge and skills AND English Language capabilities meet the level required to practice safely in the UK. 

Haematologists who have trained from outside the UK and EEA must demonstrate to the GMC they have sufficient knowledge & skills to practice safely in the UK. This can be done through three main routes: 

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 haematology 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, haematologists 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. 

Royal College of Pathologists: The Royal College of Pathologists is the professional body that regulates the specialism of haematologists in the UK, and Fellowship 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 IMG Resources library for a complete guide to FRCPath to learn more. 

Please note that only UK trainee haematologists are required to also complete the MRCP (UK) examinations. You can read more about this here.   

GMC-recognised or equivalent qualifications: Some overseas qualifications and licensing exams are recognised by the GMC and accepted for registration purposes. This is to say these qualifications or licensing exams are considered as meeting the same standards as the Royal College qualifications. 

To find out if your qualification is accepted by the GMC, take a look at our blog: Overseas accepted postgraduate qualifications 

English Language Testing 

Both EEA and non-EEA haematologists, regardless of experience and country of origin, must demonstrate that they have a sufficient grasp and competence of the English language. This can be done by passing either the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or the OET (OET – Occupational English Test). Detailed guides to these tests can be found below: 

IELTS – a guide for overseas doctors 

OET – a guide for overseas doctors 

Experience in English-speaking countries 

For doctors who have at least two years of their most recent experience in an English-speaking country, you can use a reference from your current employer or employers over these two or more years to demonstrate competence of the English language. This would exempt you from sitting an English language exam. 

Certificate of Good Standing 

All doctors registering with the GMC must provide a certificate of good standing from each medical regulatory authority they’ve been registered or licensed with in the last five years. 

The medical regulatory authority may send you a certificate of past good standing if you're not currently registered or licensed with them. You can find out which medical regulatory authority to contact via the GMC website here

If there's no medical regulatory authority in the country to issue a certificate, the GMC will give you further advice once your application has been assessed. 

Please note that each certificate is only valid for three months from the date it's signed and must be valid when we approve your application. 

GMC Registration 

Once you’ve completed your English language exam, you can now apply for full GMC registration with a license to practice. For registration, you must provide evidence of: 

English language capabilities - either your IELTS, OET or an approved reference from your current employer (if you have been working in an English-speaking country for the last two years). 


Certificate of good standing – the certificate from your medical regulatory authority which demonstrates good standing. 


(EEA haematologists) Sufficient skill and knowledge – as an EEA haematologist, this would either be your recognised EEA qualification. 

(Non-EEA haematologist) Sufficient skill and knowledge – as a non-EEA haematologist, this would either be PLAB, MRCP or a GMC-approved qualification. 

To understand the registration process more fully, read our article on GMC registration for overseas doctors here


If you or your family are from the EU, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein and started living in the UK by 31 December 2020, you may be able to apply to the free EU Settlement Scheme. Otherwise, you will need to apply for a visa from the Home Office

A Tier 2 visa is the document given to a skilled worker by the UK Home Office following a job offer from a UK employer with a valid Tier 2 Sponsorship License. The list of valid Tier 2 Sponsors can be found here

Understand Tier 2 visas and Certificates of Sponsorship in depth by taking a look at our article: 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 dependent visa below: Tier 2 Dependent visa - Can I bring my family with me to the UK? 

So there you have it! Hopefully this clarifies any questions or doubts you may have on your route to the UK as a haematologist planning a career in the NHS. If you have any questions, or wish to know more about the haematology job market then get in touch with our team. 

For regular news and updates on all things pathology, including the Royal College, GMC registration and the NHS, follow us on social media and join the conversation. 



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Discover a unique opportunity in Haematology with as a Specialty Doctor or Senior Clinical Fellow! This is a chance to embark on a career development journey, gaining valuable experience for future senior roles. TheHaematology Department is renowned for its support of doctors post-core medical training, and we are committed to achieving clinical excellence, reflected in high patient satisfaction and recognition for quality care.

This role is particularly suited for overseas Consultants looking to establish themselves in the NHS or experienced IMGs seeking CESR completion.

In the Haematology Department, you\'ll be part of a dynamic, multidisciplinary team operating within the Pathology department. They provide acute care services for adult patients of all age groups, addressing both malignant and non-malignant haematological conditions. Their department includes specialized Haematology Outpatient Clinics led by experienced consultants, a Chemotherapy Unit, and Nurse-Led Anticoagulant Clinics, all maintaining the prestigious BCSH 2a status.

The post holder is expected to maintain patient\'s clinical notes and discharge summaries. The post holder undertakes exceptionally to perform additional duties in occasional emergencies and unforeseen circumstances. Upon achieving full familiarity with local protocols and procedures, you will have the opportunity to participate in the on-call rotation alongside Middle Grade/SpR Doctors within the Haematology Department. Additionally, there may be occasional requirements for you to attend outpatient clinics at peripheral hospitals as needed.

The department sits within a Health Board that serves diverse populations across Wales, delivering comprehensive healthcare services through a dedicated team of 11,000 professionals. Their mission is to provide safe, timely care while continuously improving local services in collaboration with local government and the third sector.

Additionally, the Health Board is located in West Wales and offers not only a beautiful landscape of coastlines, hills, and countryside but also a tight-knit community, quality education, and outdoor opportunities for hiking, cycling, watersports, and exploration. This region provides a relaxed and nature-filled lifestyle away from urban hustle and bustle.

This is your chance to be a part of a Health Board that is committed to your career growth. Join them to elevate your medical career and make a meaningful impact in healthcare.


EEA Candidates:

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Non-EEA Candidates:

  • Experience of working in Haematology
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UK based applicants

  • Experience of working in Haematology
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An excellent opportunity for an experienced Consultant in Haematology to join a Health Board in North Wales that promotes equality and diversity. If you love a challenge, have a passion to help others or simple fancy a fresh start, then this Health Board has all the ingredients. The post if suitable for overseas consultants, including candidates who are pursuing CESR. Specialists in Haematology holding a specialist certification would be suitable for this post, based on experience entering at either Specialty Doctor or Consultant grade. 

Overseas applications from experienced Specialty Doctors and Consultants are welcomed. 


The Health Board is largest health organisation in Wales, that are developing an integrated health service which provides excellent care delivered in partnership with the public and other statutory and third sector organisations.

The Health Board have a budget of £1.3 billion and a workforce of over 17,000 staff. Providing primary, community, mental health and acute hospital services for the population of around 700,000 across of North Wales. They continuously develop their workforce so that it has the right skills and operates in a research-rich learning culture.

Besides their three main hospital sites, they are also responsible for community hospitals, health centres, clinics, mental health units, community teams, GP practices and other NHS services provided by dentists, opticians and pharmacists. They plan to improve the health of the population, with particular focus upon the most vulnerable in our society.


The Haematology Department offers a broad spectrum of tests for the diagnosis and monitoring diseases, and response to therapy. The Department offers outpatient, day case and inpatient facilities. The service is led by a Clinical Director and supported by Consultants and Associated Specialist Staff.



North Wales has a vast national park, purpose built mountain biking trails, a breath taking coastal path, soaring zip wire, food festivals and world class sport and adventure around every corner. The North Wales is equipped with sport and leisure centres that provide opportunities for a wide variety of sporting, fitness and recreational activities. Not only does it have lots of activities for you, it also has a wide selection of private housing is available, both traditional and modern in towns, villages and rural settings.

For doctors with family, the educational standards are consistently high in both the primary and secondary sectors. There are several well established independent schools within North Wales and the surrounding area that cater for both day pupils and boarders. The regional University with its excellent scholastic reputation has a thriving student community.

You can say goodbye to heavy inner city commuter traffic, and enjoy a breath-taking commute across North Wales.


With an extremely active education/teaching programme supported by the consultant team, there is opportunity to work towards and complete CESR, exams, get involved in active research and many aspects of CPD. 

Participation in research and educational activities will be encouraged.


EEA Candidates:

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Non-EEA Candidates:

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UK based applicants

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Haematologists with senior experience practicing at consultant level are invited to apply.

International candidates with experience at consultant level and FRCPath can be considered for locum consultant roles.

UK based candidates not yet on the specialist register will be supported with their CESR application if required.

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