New guidance for doctors planning to join GMC register from other European countries

Guidance advises how doctors who qualified in other European Economic Area (EEA) countries can apply to join the General Medical Council (GMC) register after the end of the Brexit transition period.

From 1 January 2021 a new system will be in place based on the place of qualification rather than the doctor’s nationality. The GMC explains that nationals from the European Economic Area (EEA) will no longer benefit from automatic recognition of professional qualifications.

Doctors with a relevant qualification from the EEA will have those qualifications recognised for registration but subject to that evidence being independently verified. They won’t need to sit the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test to register however.

The Department of Health and Social Care has also stated that for a temporary period after 1 January 2021, the UK will still recognise EEA and Swiss qualifications, which are subject to a separate international agreement, for at least the next four years.

The registration status of doctors from the EEA with provisional or full registration in the UK won’t change. Doctors with temporary or occasional registration will be contacted by the GMC to discuss the options available. Applications made before 1 January 2021 will be completed under the existing rules where possible.

EEA nationals who qualified outside of the EEA, or who don’t have relevant European qualifications, will need to apply for registration via the GMC’s overseas registration process.

The MDU has previously reassured members who remain working in the UK after the transition period ends that their MDU membership will not be affected.   

This page was correct at publication on 07/01/2021. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

Mike Devlin, Interim Medical Editor

by Dr Michael Devlin LLM, MBA, FRCP, FRCGP, FFFLM MDU head of professional standards and liaison

Michael was an MDU medico-legal adviser for 15 years, latterly as head of medico-legal services, before taking up the new role of head of professional standards and liaison. He sat on the FFLM's academic committee and was previously treasurer, and an examiner for the MFFLM. He has published widely on medico-legal matters, and has significant experience in teaching and assessing knowledge in medico-legal subjects.


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