European GPs

7 things you need to know about working in the UK as a European GP

Working in the UK as a General Practitioner can be an attractive prospect for European GPs, and NHS recruiters are increasingly searching further afield to fill salaried and locum doctor roles.

There are some great opportunities for overseas doctors to not only experience life in the UK but also work within the NHS, one of the best health care systems in the world.

Salaries and standards of living can be higher than some other European countries and there are also opportunities to expand your skills set, have access to a diverse and multi-ethnic population and enhance your medical experience and career.

The NHS and GP work

The National Health Service or NHS as it is more commonly known, is a public funded national healthcare system providing free at the point of access healthcare.  The NHS is split into Primary and Secondary Care. Secondary care tends to includes all speciality care, hospitals and outpatient visits

GPs work within Primary Care in GP surgeries providing face to face appointments, telephone appointments and home visits to the patients on their surgery’s list.

GPs can also work in urgent care centres which provide 24 hour emergency appointments for acutely ill patients and work for out-of-hours providers, providing emergency care when GP surgeries close.


Locum GPs can typically expect to earn around £60-90 pounds per hour. The rates will vary depending on the type of work and working pattern. Rates typically go up for weekend and out of hours week (work outside the usual 9am-5pm pattern).

Salaried GPs earn between a minimum of £54,863 and a maximum of £82,789 (2014/15 rates).

Registration with the GMC

Doctors who wish to work and practice medicine in the UK must be registered with the General Medical Council or GMC and also to be on something called the GP register.

If you are an EEA national and have an equivalent GP qualification, you can apply immediately online to the General Medical Council for full registration to practice and also for entry on the GP register. You can find out if your qualification is accepted on the GMC website.

For doctors who are European Economic Area citizens there are currently no visa or other immigration restrictions on working in the UK, other than for Croatian nationals.

The following countries have no visa or immigration restrictions-

EEA countries include Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, the Republic of Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. While Switzerland is not in the EEA, Swiss nationals have the same rights as EEA nationals.

Changes to language requirements since June 2014 mean that applicants also have to demonstrate that they adequate English language skills to work in the UK and the General Medical Council or GMC will ask for evidence of this. They may require you to obtain a certificate called the, “International English Language System”. You can take this test in over 900 centres over the world and it costs approximately £145 pounds. The link is below.

The following is a link to the GMC website and registration application. You will be required to submit supporting evidence including full details of your medical training, referees and education-you will be told which information you need to present by the GMC. Your application can be started online and then you will have to present your evidence at one of the GMC offices.

General Medical Council Website Registration Application

Other requirements

As well as being registered with the GMC, you will need to show other documents if you want to work as a GP.

As working as a GP involves looking after children and adults in a health care setting, you will need a document called a DBS check or a Disclosure and Barring Service Check. This will check if an applicant has a previous conviction or is one of two DBS “Barred Lists”, meaning they are unsuitable to work and care for children and adults.

You can’t apply for a DBS check yourself so the organisation you are working for has to apply for one on your behalf. They typically cost around £60 pounds and last for 3 years. They were previously called Criminal Records Bureau check or CRB. You will need to ask your employer or locum agency about this when you apply.

Performer’s List

All GPs will need to be on something called a performer’s list. This is an essential requirement for all GPs wanting to practice in the UK. NHS England manages the performer’s list

Applications should be made to NHS England’s Area Team in the area in which the GP will be undertaking  the majority of their work.

To find out which area team you belong to, you can use the ‘look up’ function on the NHS England national performers lists website for clarity of which area team to apply to. For locum GPs, you usually input your home postcode.

This is available at:

This will give you all the relevant contact details of your area team and then you can apply to them directly to be put on the performer’s list. You can apply to be on a performer’s list once you have registered with the GMC.

The following is a link to the application form and the evidence needed to apply


Basic Life Support Training and Child Protection Training.

It is a requirement for General Practitioners to undergo annual basic life support training including CPR. Below are some links to private companies providing BLS courses for Doctors.

You will also be asked to demonstrate that you have undergone relevant child protection training, this is especially pertinent to out of hours work. You should obtain level 3 child protection training. You can access relevant training at the following website.

You can also undertake Adult Safeguarding training at the following website


If you become registered and practice within the UK, you will have to undergo a process called “Revalidation”

If you’re a GP on the performers list, your designated body is the organisation that manages the performers list you are on (even if you practise as a locum).

For GPs in England, your designated body is NHS England and your responsible officer is based in one of the 27 Area Teams (the area team, as previously mentioned, will be the area where you do the majority of your work and the place where you apply to be on the performer’s list).

It is the area team that will allocate you with another GP who will act as an appraiser. You will meet with your appraiser on an annual basis and you will have to demonstrate among other things evidence of continual professional development or CPD. Every 5 years, you have to apply for revalidation so that your license can be renewed. It is your responsible officer who will decide if you have shown enough evidence for this to take place.

The following link has information on the relevant requirements

Useful links

Network Locum is the UKs leading online GP locum platform connecting GPs with a variety of locum work. You can register an online profile with all your documents and find great, well paid locum work at the click of a button-

General Medical Council Website The site has a host of information for doctors wishing to apply for registration

Online tool for overseas doctors This is online, scenario based tool to help overseas doctors explore the principles behind “Good Medical Practice”

British Medical Association-BMA guide for overseas doctors working in the UK

NHS website-NHS guide for overseas doctors wanting to work in the UK



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