GMC registration - STEP 4 (2) - Demonstrating your medical knowledge and skills
In order to get full GMC registration, you must have an acceptable internship and experience. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about the GMC internship criteria and the documents you will need to submit with your application for full GMC registration. We will also provide informative links to trusted information and resources where appropriate so that you could get the most of this blog post.
Please keep in mind it is not a requirement to have completed an internship if you are applying for provisional GMC registration and aiming for doing your internship in the UK through a 2-year UK Foundation Programme (UKFP). We will soon create a separate post about the UKFP.
To get GMC registration, you will also need to demonstrate that your medical knowledge and clinical skills are up to date. In our previous post we covered several options how you can do this:
- sit the two-part PLAB test
- hold an acceptable postgraduate qualification (PGQ)
- be eligible for inclusion in the specialist register
- hold a Relevant European or Specialist Qualification (REQ) - post-Brexit route
- have passed an acceptable overseas registration exam
Acceptable internship and experience
To have a better understanding of the patterns of internship that are considered acceptable, read the full guidance from the GMC here. We would also recommend you read a great guide from The Savvy IMG on internship patterns and tips on how to understand the chances of your internship to be GMC acceptable here.
In summary, for your internship to be acceptable, it must meet GMC criteria (one of the following):
successfully completed Year 1 of the Foundation programme (F1) in the UK
a period of pre-graduate or postgraduate clinical experience outside the UK (at least 12 months continuous medical practice with at least 3 months practice in medicine & 3 months in surgery or for 18 months with at least 6 months practice in medicine & 6 months in surgery)
2 years of continuous postgraduate medical practice in at least one branch of medicine AND at least one branch of surgery. Each branch must be a minimum of three months.
As evidence of your experience, the GMC will ask you to provide a signed certificate or document from your awarding institution with the dates and duration of all rotations. The GMC does not accept experience from posts that involved observation (such as clinical attachments, shadowing, observerships and clerkships), rather than active medical practice with direct patient contact.
Your internship should be a part of an approved training programme, irrespective of if the position paid or not. If your internship is not part of your qualification, or you are working outside of a training programme and you are not getting paid, then it is likely to be classed as an honorary post which is not acceptable.
If you missed the GMC registration webinar and would like to know the main steps you need to take in order to obtain full registration to practice, you can watch it for free here.
Breaks in Practice
According to the GMC, 'a break in practice is a period of time when a qualified doctor has not been working in a medical capacity in a role which requires registration with a licence to practice.' Doctors take breaks from medical practice for a variety of reasons: to study, travel, look after their children or elderly parents. Considering all this, the GMC will take into account applications with breaks. The GMC considers clinical attachments, medical studies, maternity/paternity leaves and health issues as acceptable reasons why there has been a break in practice.
As a general rule, if graduation was over 2 years ago, the GMC would expect applicants to have been practising a minimum of 60% of the time, with at least 6 months practice in the last 12 months immediately preceding the application for registration. However, even if you have not been practising medicine for more than 2 years, you still have good chances to get GMC registration. When your application is reviewed, an Assistant Registrar will consider evidence that you have kept your medical knowledge and experience up to date.
It may be harder to get GMC registration if you have gaps between graduation and internship or during the internship itself. Usually, the longer the gap, the harder it is to obtain GMC registration. However, reasonable evidence in form of documentation may help mitigate any gaps. Read more here.
Gaps after a successfully finished internship are rarely a barrier to GMC registration. But if you have a long clinical gap, it is likely that the GMC will ask for additional evidence to see whether you have kept your clinical knowledge and skills up-to-date.
If you are an EEA applicant whose application for registration was submitted prior to 1 January 2021, read the full guidance on breaks in practice from the GMC here. Under the same guidance, you will find a very helpful FAQ section.
If you have any doubts, you can always contact the GMC.
How to mitigate breaks in practice
There are a number of ways to demonstrate the GMC that you have kept your medical knowledge and clinical skills up to date. There are some examples:
a substantive period of medical practice in another country
a recent pass in an objective medical test (e.g. PLAB, MRCP, MRCS etc.)
one or more acceptable PGQs obtained within the three years prior to the application for registration
clinical attachment undertaken at a UK hospital or a public hospital overseas
evidence of medically related CPD, medical refresher training, medically related return to work course or further successfully completed postgraduate study for which the award of a PMQ is a condition of entry
evidence that the applicant has been through a robust (NHS or equivalent) recruitment process and has been offered employment as a licensed doctor in the UK
1. You can always ask our friendly team members, mentors and senior IMGs for advice here. Our guidance is free.
2. We encourage you to watch the Q&A session from a 1-hour interactive and engaging webinar with the GMC on the GMC registration process.
3. If you are an EEA applicant whose application for registration was submitted prior to 1 January 2021, read the full guidance on breaks in practice from the GMC here. Under the same guidance, you will find a very helpful FAQ section.
4. If you have any doubts on whether your internship/experience is acceptable, you can always contact the GMC.
5. Read a great guide from The Savvy IMG on tips on how to understand the chances of your internship to be GMC acceptable here.
In our next post, we will provide full guidance on how you can demonstrate your fitness to practice.