Working in the UK - Guidance for International Medical Graduates

Applying to join an Emergency Medicine training programme in the UK

ACCS EM recruitment will be coordinated by Shared Services London, in association with the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, for CT1/ST1 posts throughout England, Wales and Scotland. The person specifications can be found here.

Specific guidance for overseas nationals can be found here at the applicant guidance page under the “Right to work in the UK” tab 

GMC Registration

Please note that as stated in the person specifications, applicants need to be eligible for full registration with, and hold a current licence to practise from the GMC at intended start date. For information on the various routes to GMC registration visit the GMC website, then answer the filtering questions to select the route that is applicable to you.

Acceptable Postgraduate Qualification route to GMC registration

For International Medical Graduates looking to follow the  Acceptable Postgraduate Qualification route to GMC registration (via Emergency Medicine), please follow the link below to the guidance on the revised exam structure coming into effect from 1 August 2016.

Full information on this route and the full list of qualifications ​that the GMC accept as evidence that a doctor applying for full registration with a licence to practise has the necessary knowledge, skills and experience, can be found here

Medical Training Initiative

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine is one of the Medical Royal Colleges taking part in the Medical Training Initiative (MTI). The MTI is a government authorised exchange under Tier 5 of the Points Based System allowing overseas doctors to obtain training in the UK for up to two years. 

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine’s International Sponsorship Scheme offers Emergency Medicine training opportunities within the MTI. Successful applicants can obtain full GMC registration without taking the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test. Further information can be found here.


This resource contains information intended for the use of international doctors already working, or considering working, in Emergency Medicine in the UK. The majority of this information refers to NHS England, with separate reference made to the NHS in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland where appropriate.

It contains useful facts about:

  • UK Emergency Medicine and Emergency Departments
  • Working and training in the National Health Service 
  • Helpful online resources  

Click on each part below to download answers to the questions listed underneath.

Part One – About the NHS (National Health Service)
  1. What is the NHS?  
  2. How many people does the NHS employ? 
  3. How many people does the NHS care for? 
  4. What is the NHS Constitution?
Part Two – The structure and funding of the NHS
  1. What is the structure of the NHS? 
  2. What is the Department of Health (DH)? 
  3. What is the difference between a Trust and a Foundation hospital? 
  4. What WERE Primary Care Trusts (PCTs)? 
  5. How have PCTs now been replaced?
  6. What are Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs)? 
  7. How is the NHS funded?  
  8. How is the money spent?
Part Three – Emergency care in the UK
  1. What is Emergency Medicine? 
  2. What does the Royal College of Emergency Medicine do? 
Part Four – The Emergency Department (ED)
  1. What is an Emergency Department? 
  2. What are the different areas within an Emergency Department? 
  3. What do patients expect from the ED and its staff? 
  4. Who is entitled to care as an emergency and who is entitled to planned care?
Part Five – The healthcare professionals that may be working in an Emergency Department in the UK
  1. What types of doctors are there in the Emergency Department?
  2. What types of nurses are there in the Emergency Department?
  3. What are Emergency Medical Technicians / Physicians’ Assistants?
  4. What is the role of a District Nurse? 
  5. How are nurses trained?
  6. What is an Occupational Therapist?
  7. What is a Physiotherapist?
  8. What is a General Practitioner? 
  9. What is a Social Worker?
Part Six – Paramedics and the ambulance service in the UK
  1. What are paramedics and what do they do in the UK?
  2. Who runs the ambulance service? 
  3. Are ambulances free?
Part Seven – Other sources of urgent patient care apart from the Emergency Department
  1. What is a Walk In Centre (WIC)? 
  2. What is NHS111?
Part Eight – Social services related to health care in UK
  1. What is social care? What services are provided? 
  2. Who is entitled to social care / community care services? 
  3. What is a residential home / care home? 
  4. What is sheltered housing? 
  5. What is a nursing home?
Part Nine – Performance indicators that may be used in Emergency Departments in the UK
  1. What are early warning score systems? (NEWS) 
  2. What is the four-hour target? 
  3. What are the Clinical Quality Indicators for Emergency Medicine? 
  4. What are the other targets for the hospital?
Part Ten – Training as a doctor in Emergency Medicine in the UK
  1. What is the usual training pathway in Emergency Medicine in the UK? 
  2. Can I join the College? Why would I join the College? What is the benefit? 
  3. Who runs training programmes? 
  4. Who approves training? 
  5. Can I have an ePortfolio? 
  6. How can I access the curriculum?
The College published a statement regarding the recognition of overseas training in Sept 2013.


There are a series of funding streams available which would be suitable for Emergency Medicine Physicians from India, Turkey, Kazakhstan, Egypt and South Africa, who wish to undertake research in the UK towards a PhD. More information is available here.