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Press release on behalf of
Angela Rowlands
Media Officer
General Medical Council
350 Euston Road
London NW1 3JN
0207 189 5454/5444 (out of hours)

Promoting the new route onto the Specialist Register in the UK. It applies to all overseas doctors who were appointed to a NHS consultant post in the UK before 1 January and are not yet on the GMC's Specialist Register.

GMC calls on overseas doctors to take advantage of the opening of a new route onto the Specialist Register.

Embargoed until Monday 16 March 2009

A new route onto the Specialist Register has opened today. The GMC is urging all overseas doctors who were appointed to a NHS consultant post in the UK before 1 January 1997 and who are not yet on the GMC's Specialist Register, to take advantage of this opportunity.

Since 1 January 1997, it has been a legal requirement that a doctor must be on the Specialist Register in order to take up a substansive, fixed term or honorary consultant post in the NHS.

It is thought that as many as 1000 to 1500 doctors, appointed to the NHS consultant posts prior to 1 January 1997, are not on the Specialist Register.

Neil Roberts, Director of Registration and Resources at the GMC said: "We hope that all eligible doctors who are currently overseas and have been working for the past five years will use, should they wish to, this opportunity to apply to have their names entered onto the Specialist Register. Doctors will be assessed on a case by case basis and there is no fee for those doctors who are already registered with the GMC.

"Specialist Registration is necessary for appointment as a consultant in the NHS (other than as a locum) and entry allows these doctors to apply for appointment to new consultant posts in the NHS should they wish. Furthermore, should these doctors wish to work in the UK again, entry onto the Specialist Register will allow these doctors to participate in recertification when it is introduced."

The new route will complement other existing routes to the Specialist Register, for example the award by the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board (PMETB) of a Certification of Completion of Training.

Lesly Hawksworth, Director of Certification at PMETB said: "We welcome the reintroduction of this route for doctors to gain specialist registration, and will work closely with the GMC to ensure that the scheme is publicised and all eligible doctors are informed about the changes."

The GMC recently consulted on the scheme entitled, 'Eligibility for inclusion on the Specialist Register: restoration of the Existing Specialist Route' and covered areas such as scheme eligibility criteria and evidence of the applicant being up to date and fit to practise.

Doctors seeking further information or who wish to apply should visit the GMC website where they can download an application form. Alternatively, doctors should call the GMC Contact Centre on +44(0)161 923 6602.


For further information please contact the Media Relations Office on
020 7189 5454, out of hours 020 7189 5444, fax 020 7189 5401,
email, website

Notes to Editors

For further information on PMETB and the CESR process, please visit

The General Medical Council registers doctors to practise medicine in the UK. Our purpose is summed up in the phrase: Regulating doctors, Ensuring Good Medical Practice.

The law gives us four main functions:

  • keeping up-to-date registers of qualified doctors

  • fostering good medical practice

  • promoting high standards of medical education

  • dealing firmly and fairly with doctors whose fitness to practise is in doubt

  • 2008 General Medical Council Press Office