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Doctors who practise medicine in the UK must hold a registration with a licence to practise. There are different ways to apply for registration with a licence to practise in the UK. It depends on your qualification and experience.

There are four types of registration:

1. Provisional Registration

2. Full Registration

3. Specialist Registration

4. GP Registration


Provisional Registration

Provisional registration with a licence to practise allows you to take part in an approved Foundation Year 1 (F1) Programme in the UK. 

Upon successful completion of F1, you will receive a certificate of experience. This certificate provides evidence that you meet the requirements for full registration. It must be signed by your university or designated representative in the postgraduate deaneries or foundation schools.

If you hold provisional registration, you are not allowed to undertake any kind of service post, other than an approved UK F1 programme.

There is a time limit on provisional registration – it can be held for a maximum of three years and 30 days (1,125 days) only. 

Who can apply for Provisional Registration?

If you are eligible for full registration, you can't apply for provisional registration.

You can apply for provisional if: 

  • You are a UK medical graduates who have completed their medical degree at a UK university

  • A doctor who graduated outside the UK who have an acceptable primary medical qualification and who have passed PLAB but who have not completed an internship

  • A doctor who qualified in the following European countries but do not hold the accompanying certificate required to complete their recognised European qualification (Denmark, France, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden)

When should I apply for provisional registration? 

You will need to apply three months before the date you wish to start F1.


Full Registration

Doctors need full registration with a licence to practise to either move on to the second year of the Foundation Programme (F2) in an approved training programme, or to work in unsupervised medical practice in the NHS or UK private practice. 

Who can apply for Full Registration?

To be eligible for full registration, a doctor must be able to meet one of the three options below.

1. Completed the first year of the Foundation Programme (F1) in the UK. 

2. Be a graduate with an acceptable primary medical qualification from a country outside of Switzerland or the UK. And be able to prove that you have enough clinical experience to practise medicine in the UK. You can do this with either, a pass in the PLAB test, sponsorship by a GMC approved sponsor, an acceptable postgraduate qualification, relevant European qualification or eligibility onto the specialist or GP register

3. Be a Swiss or UK national  and have either a formal qualification listed in The Directive on Recognition of Professional Qualifications (the Directive) or an acceptable primary medical qualification from outside the EEA (which has been recognised in Switzerland) with evidence of an acceptable pattern of experience


Specialist Registration

What is the Specialist Register?

The Specialist Register is a list of doctors who are eligible to take up appointment in any fixed term, honorary or substantive consultant post 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 medical register. You'll can also see:

  • the specialties (and sub-specialties) they are qualified in

  • the date they joined the specialist register in each specialty.

How to apply to join the Specialist Register

If you have a specialist medical qualification, training or experience and you want to work as a consultant in a UK health service you need to apply to join the Specialist Register. Applications depend on when and where you completed your specialist medical training or experience.


GP Registration

What is the GP Register? 

The GP Register is a list of doctors who are eligible for appointment as a general practitioner in the UK. 

Since 1 April 2006, all doctors working as a GP in the UK health service must be on the GP Register, other than doctors in training, such as GP registrars. This requirement extends to locums.

If a doctor is on the GP Register it will declare this on the medical register.

How to apply to join the GP Register

If you have a specialist medical qualification or training in general practice you can apply to join the GP Register. How you apply depends on when and where you completed your GP qualification training.

Other steps you need to take to work as a GP 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. 

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