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At the heart of general practice since 1960

RCGP launches overseas GP guide to life in the UK

The RCGP has created a resource bringing together a range of advice and information for oversees GPs considering a career in the UK.

The college said the guide, available on its website, is aimed at 'showcasing the UK as a great place to work as a GP' as well as offering practical assistance.

'Living and working in the UK as a GP: a guide for overseas doctors and their families' includes information about the NHS, life in the UK, qualifications and routes into general practice, and also contains case studies.

The guide, which comes as the Government is aiming to attract between 2,000 and 3,000 overseas GPs to come and work in England, has been developed with NHS England and the devolved health administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as the BMA.

RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said that as workload in general practice 'has increased 16% over the last seven years', investment 'has declined over the last decade' and the GP 'workforce has not risen at pace with demand'.

She added: 'We already have a huge number of GPs working in NHS general practice from overseas, and we’re incredibly grateful for their work. But we’re still desperately short of GPs – and it is crucial that we tackle this, including through recruiting more GPs.

'This guide will help to support this important work, and I hope it will be an invaluable resource for doctors looking to live and work in the UK to support us to deliver care to over one million patients a day.'

Readers' comments (11)

  • i hope the resource includes all the immigration fees, average cost of attempts for mrcgp exams as foreigners, upkeep etc.. and that its not all that welcome, learn the culture and enjoy tourism

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  • Easy
    It's shite
    End of

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  • Family? You won't see them

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  • This comment has been deleted

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  • If anyone overseas is thinking of this
    Please don't come here for your own sake.
    I promise you you'll regret working for this dishonest government in this toxic system.
    If you are a good and conscientious doctor please go elsewhere. This system has ruined far too many good people

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  • Vinci Ho

    This chapter is called 'Nationality' in the guide worth reading, especially the uncertainty of Brexit remains:

    Doctors who are EEA nationals, from Switzerland, or have EC rights

    If you are an EEA national, you are free to come to the UK to work. You don't need a visa, or a job offer, or to be earning a particular salary. You can also bring your family members to the UK with you. You must, however, have the necessary knowledge of English before being granted a licence by the GMC, and may need to take a test. You will have to do some form of induction and training.

    There is no limit on how long you can stay in the UK – it will depend on the contract of employment. However, once an EEA national has been in the UK for five years, they and their family members can claim permanent residence providing they have been working or self-employed for those five years. The BMA has information on claiming permanent residence for EEA nationals.

    Croatian nationals need to seek specific permission to work in the UK. Further details are available from the Croatian nationals page of GOV.UK.

    Registration and licensing

    If you graduated from a medical school in the EEA or Switzerland and completed a medical internship, you may be able to use this qualification to apply for full registration. The GMC website provides a list of the specific documents that you need to provide, depending on their country and date of qualification.

    GP registration

    Doctors who attained a GP qualification in the EEA or Switzerland which is listed in The Directive on Recognition of Professional Qualifications for the country in which they obtained the qualification are entitled to mutual recognition of that qualification.

    Doctors who attained a GP qualification in the EEA or Switzerland which is not listed in The Directive on Recognition of Professional Qualifications for the country in which they obtained the qualification are entitled to an assessment of their qualification under the general system. This will compare the training they have undertaken to the UK GP curriculum. Doctors in this position should read the guidance for Certificate of Eligibility for GP Registration (CEGPR) applicants.

    Read about Dr Maria Drakou's move from Greece to England (PDF)
    Doctors from outside the EEA

    If you are a non-EEA national, you will need a job offer and a visa to work in the UK. A Tier 2 (General) visa is required and there are several rules you need to meet. More information can be found on the GOV UK and BMA websites.

    If you are from outside the EEA, you may have specific rights to live and work in the UK, if you are the spouse of an EEA national, or because you have commonwealth ancestry rights. If you think this may apply to you, please check the GOV.UK website.

    Immigration and visas

    Immigration and visa rules change dramatically and frequently and the current system is extremely complex. For overseas doctors working and training in the UK who are subject to the immigration rules, how visa rules are applied can be disruptive.

    BMA members can access a free Immigration advice service which provides basic immigration advice in connection with your employment and study in the UK.

    You can stay up to date by signing up to the BMA's free visa alerts service

    Registration and licensing

    If you do not hold a UK primary medical qualification, there are three ways you can obtain full registration with a licence to practise:

    Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB)
    Sponsorship
    Certificate of Eligibility for GP Registration (CEGPR)
    These assess whether you have the required knowledge and skills to practise medicine safely. Whichever route is followed, you must hold an acceptable primary medical qualification.

    To obtain a GMC licence to practise, doctors from outside the EEA must prove that they have the necessary knowledge of English to communicate effectively so that the safety of patients is not put at risk. This includes speaking, reading, writing and listening.

    There are several ways that doctors from outside the EEA can demonstrate they have the necessary knowledge of English, including achieving the required scores in the International English Testing System (IELTS). More information can be found on the GMC website.

    GP registration

    Doctors who have either a postgraduate qualification in general practice, or a minimum of six months GP training – undertaken anywhere in the world – can apply for a Certificate of Eligibility for GP Registration (CEGPR). The GMC does not automatically recognise any GP qualifications attained outside of the EEA, although evidence of GP training undertaken overseas can be useful supporting evidence for CEGPR applications. Similarly, RCGP accredited international membership assessments leading to MRCGP [INT] are unique to each of the nine countries where international members have qualified. As such, MRCGP [INT] is not automatically deemed equivalent to UK MRCGP, but can be used to support a CEGPR application.

    Once you have gained a CEGPR you are automatically included in the GP Register.

    Certification of Eligibility for GP Registration (CEGPR) applications

    A CEGPR application can be made by doctors who feel that their knowledge, skills and experience are equivalent to the standards required by the current approved curriculum for UK general practice.

    Applicants will need to provide verified documentary evidence showing how they have achieved all the competencies required by the current GP curriculum. They will be asked to provide referees who can comment on their recent practise and skills, and will also need to submit 'primary evidence' of their work, such as patient logs and case studies. As a general guide, most applicants submit around 500-800 pages of evidence. It can take around six months for your application to be considered from the point of application.

    The RCGP and GMC have produced detailed guidance on the evidence a doctor should submit in support of their CEGPR application.

    If you would like to gain MRCGP once you have a CEPGR, you will also need to complete Membership by Assessment of Performance (MAP).

    Read about Antony's move from Australia to London (PDF) and Dr Charlotte Cant's move from Alaska to Scotland (PDF). Dr Cant has written also provided some top tips on applying for a CEGPR (PDF).

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  • I think the RCGP is colluding with jeremy hunt now..... its simple.... the job is broken..... fix the job and people will come again.....simples.... until then its a matter of trying to con people into the profession.....

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  • Expensive new building and wine cellar to support, those exam fees will come in handy.

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  • You. would think the oversea doctor would smell a rat that no one in the UK wants to do the job .

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  • A Challenge but needed as GP recruitment currently is Far Too Few!! Good Luck

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