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.
Guidance on applying for specialty training 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, or in Annex D starting on page 52 ofthe Medical Specialty Recruitment applicant handbook found here 

GMC registration

All doctors wishing to practice medicine in the UK will need to hold full registration with a licence to practice with the General Medical Council (GMC). 
There are various routes for International Medical Graduates to obtain registration. The route that will be applicable to you it will depend on your training/experience and what you intend to relocate to the UK to do. 

Please follow the link below to the GMC website then answer the filtering questions to select the route that is appropriate for you.   

Important information 
From 11 June 2018, doctors applying for full registration with a licence to practise with the GMC will need to have their primary medical qualification independently verified before the GMC grant their registration.
This will apply to those that: 

  • qualified at a medical school outside of the UK, EEA or Switzerland
  • are a national of a country outside the UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland who graduated from medical schools outside the UK
  • do not already hold provisional registration

Doctors applying for registration that hold an acceptable postgraduate qualification (PGQ), will also need to have their PGQ verified.

Verification will be carried out by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates  (ECFMG) through their online system – known as the Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials (EPIC) service. 
ECFMG will verify the qualification is genuine by checking this directly with the doctor’s awarding institution.

Please read the full guidance carefully if you are considering applying for GMC registration via all routes  

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 Royal Colleges participating in the Medical Training Initiative. 

The Medical Training Initiative (MTI) is designed to enable a small number of International Medical Graduates to enter the UK to experience training and development in the NHS for up to two years.

Under the scheme, training capacity not required for planned UK/EEA training numbers is made available for overseas doctors who meet the required eligibility criteria, including registration with the General Medical Council (GMC) in the MTI Scheme. This is nearly always obtained via a professional sponsorship scheme with the relevant medical Royal College. 

The Royal College of Emergency Medicine’s International Sponsorship Scheme offers Emergency Medicine training opportunities within the MTI. Successful applicants can obtain sponsorship for full GMC registration without taking the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test. Full information can be found here. The placements filled by doctors in the MTI scheme are approved by the appropriate College Training Programme Director/and or Head of School and the local Deanery/Local Education & Training Board (LETB). 

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) acts as the UK Visa Sponsor to enable participants to apply for a Tier 5 Government Authorised Exchange Scheme visa from the Home Office.

The primary purpose of the MTI scheme is to contribute to the improvement of the quality of healthcare and the building of healthcare capacity in developing countries, therefore, it has been reaffirmed by the Department of Health, Health Education England and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges that the priority focus of the MTI scheme is to provide training opportunities for doctors from DfID priority or Low IncomeLower Middle Income countries and have therefore now stated that applicants from countries not considered DfID priority or LI&LMI countries can have no guarantee or expectation of receiving sponsorship under the scheme. The full statement from the Academy 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.