Opportunities in the UK for international doctors

Welcome to the working in the UK for international doctors section. There are several options for you to consider if you would like to come to the UK to work in paediatrics, on a short-term or long-term basis. This page provides information on the options, as well as providing useful information for you to consider prior to or on arrival in the UK.
Three people in a hospital setting talking
Last modified
15 August 2023

Options for working in the UK as a paediatrician from outside the UK are listed below. If none of the options listed below are appropriate or you are not sure, please contact us via the online form below, giving as much detail around your background and level of experience as possible, so we can best advise and support you.

1. Medical Training Initiative (Paediatrics) – MTI(p)

This national scheme enables trainee paediatricians from outside the UK / European Economic Area the opportunity to gain two years of high quality postgraduate training in the NHS. Graduates can use this experience to improve patient care in their home countries, and UK hospitals benefit from their skills and knowledge.

Suitable for doctors who are:

  • currently in training outside UK/EEA
  • looking for a short-term post (one or two years)
  • not already registered with the General Medical Council (GMC).

Not suitable for doctors outside training and:

  • from EEA
  • at UK consultant or equivalent level
  • looking for long-term posts or to enter paediatric/paediatric sub-specialty training.

About MTI(p), including eligibility criteria

2. International Paediatric Sponsorship Scheme (IPSS)

This RCPCH scheme enables trainee paediatricians from countries that fall outside the eligibility criteria for the MTI(p) scheme to be provided with GMC registration, so they can take up high quality postgraduate training/educational and developmental posts in the NHS. These should therefore be doctors who are from nations listed as Upper or Upper Middle income as laid out by the World Bank.

Suitable for doctors who are:

  • from countries that fall outside the eligibility criteria of the MTI(p) scheme
  • looking to take up a fixed term post with sufficient training/educational components
  • not already registered with the General Medical Council (GMC)

Not suitable for doctors outside training and:

  • from countries that are covered under the eligibility criteria of the MTI(p) scheme
  • at UK consultant or equivalent level
  • looking to take up service-only or predominantly service-based posts

About IPSS, including eligibility criteria

3. Entry into a UK training programme, including sub-specialty training

Suitable for:

  • doctors looking to complete paediatric training in the UK.

Not suitable for:

  • doctors qualified to UK consultant or equivalent level.

About ST1

About ST3

About sub-specialty training

4. Working in the UK as a Locally Employed Doctor (LED), SAS Doctor or Consultant

To apply for paediatric jobs that are not part of the UK training programme or MTI(p) scheme, you can apply directly to local hospitals if they have vacancies advertised, by using the NHS Jobs site to look for vacancies.

NHS Jobs

The NHS Jobs website is the largest repository of available posts in the NHS across the UK. International doctors can use it look for both training and non-training posts.

Suitable for:

  • all levels of doctors / posts
  • those wishing to gain specialty and sub-specialty posts outside of training.

Browse NHS Jobs


You will need to confirm your visa requirements. These details should be on the job advert. RCPCH employees are not regulated to provide immigration advice and so are prohibited from doing so - please make all such enquiries to UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) or the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).

Register with the GMC for a licence to practice

Before working as a doctor in the UK, you will need to register with a license to practice with the General Medical Council (GMC), the UK's medical regulator. This is mandatory for anyone practising medicine in the UK.

For international medical graduates with an acceptable primary medical qualification from outside the UK and EEA who have completed a period of postgraduate experience, full registration with a licence to practice can be done via several routes:

  • A pass in the PLAB test
  • Sponsorship by a GMC approved sponsor (RCPCH can only sponsor for MTI(p) route)
  • An acceptable postgraduate qualification (MRCPCH must have been achieved within the past 3 years to be used for this route)
  • Eligibility for entry onto the GMC Specialist or GP register (see below)

Doctors from outside the EEA who are new to working in the UK and not on the GMC Specialist register will be required to work first in an approved practice setting in the UK.

For EC nationals full registration with a licence to practice can be done via two routes – refer to the GMC website for details.

Eligibility for entry onto the GMC Specialist register

Entry to the GMC Specialist register, rather than the general medical register, is only available to overseas doctors who demonstrate their skills, knowledge and experience is equivalent to an approved UK paediatric training programme. Routes to enter the Specialist register are below.

It is not possible to work in the UK as a Consultant paediatrician in a substantive post without being on the Specialist register.

It is possible to work in the UK in paediatrics in a trainee, LED or SAS post without being on the Specialist register.

The different routes to entry to the GMC Specialist register in paediatrics, other than via the full UK training programme, is as follows:

1. Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR)

The CESR route to the Specialist register is for doctors who wish to join the UK's Specialist Register, whose specialist training, qualifications or experience were partly or completely acquired outside of an approved UK CCT (Certifcate of Completion of Training) programme.

About CESR

2. Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration - Combined Programme (CESR (CP))

Doctors who have previous training from outside a GMC approved programme may combine this training with a UK run-through specialist training programme.

About CESR (CP)

Things to consider and discuss with an employer when starting a new UK work placement

As a non-UK doctor, there are a number of things you should familiarise yourself with before, or as soon as, you start work in the UK. You may also wish to become a member of particular organisations. A flowchart is also available in download section.

Period before you start working

  • Job contract/description: Do you have clear guidance regarding your role? This needs to be evident in your job description. If unclear, ask for an explanation of your roles and responsibilities on a day to day basis. Your contract should give you information about the pay scale. Check British Medical Association guidance on contracts and working in the UK.
  • Complete all Human Resources (HR) paperwork and formalities including Disclosure and Barring Scheme (DBS) checks.
  • Know what your start date is and ensure you know how to get there on the day.
  • You should be informed about your rota/shift pattern by HR before starting. If not, liaise with your rota coordinator.
  • Ensure you have appropriate medical indemnity cover via a medical defence union.

Period when you start working (first few weeks)

  • Induction: Ensure you attend both the hospital and departmental inductions when you start work. Make sure you receive information on who your colleagues are and also 'who's who' in the department such as the College Tutor, rota co-ordinator, educational supervisor, clinical supervisor, secretarial team, nursing team, managers.
  • If you are new to the NHS, a shadowing period is encouraged in all relevant areas of your duties where no clinical work is expected.
  • Training (mandatory/statutory): Ensure you have completed local mandatory training (moving and handling, infection control, fire safety) for your hospital. You should be told what to complete during induction. Tip: add mandatory training to your personal development plan as part of your appraisal as a reminder to do them
  • Training (other): Ensure you have been given training on UK practice around child safeguarding/protection, resuscitation, different aspects of hospital drug charts, day to day computer systems you will use e.g. radiology/diagnostic system access, electronic patient records, how make write referral letters (using hospital letter headed sheets).
  • Ask if there are specialty-specific ways of recording patient information e.g. like BADGER system in neonatology. Some hospitals are now entirely paperless - in those cases you should receive training in how to use their electronic health record.
  • Ensure you are aware of clinical incident logging process (Datix or IR1 reporting), escalation of patient care pathway, clinical governance aspects and patient safety.

Period when you continue working (after first few weeks)

  • Join the RCPCH as a member for advice and guidance from the UK professional body for paediatrics and child health. RCPCH membership will offer you tools for your professional development and career progression, including CPD Diary/ePortfolio.
  • Educational/clinical supervisor: you should have a designated educational supervisor and clinical supervisor to support you in your day to day clinical work and help you build your professional career.
  • Study leave and funding: you may need to improve your professional, clinical and non clinical skills, so be aware of how to access study leave and funding.
  • You should have access to your hospital library facilities.
  • Appraisal and Personal Development Plan: Be clear about who your appraiser is (usually your educational supervisor) and what you need to do for annual appraisal and revalidation. As a RCPCH member, you can access the College's CPD Diary and, if you wish to demonstrate your skills for a future CESR application, you can also access the training ePortfolio. Both of these have Personal Development Plan forms if your appraisal system does not.

Familiarisation/opportunities during your employment

  • Make contact with your local RCPCH College Tutor, in addition to your educational supervisor/appraiser for continuing professional development opportunities
  • Know who your Clinical Lead/Clinical Director is.
  • If you are in a Specialty, Staff or Associate Specialist (SAS) or Locally Employed Doctor (LED) role, ask if there is a SAS lead, or LED lead in the hospital, so that you can network further.
  • If a LED or specialty doctor, your development should be similar to trainees at your level
  • Familiarise yourself with who your "Guardian of Safe Working" is. This Consultant is responsible for overseeing all the hospital junior doctor rotas and making sure you do not work too many hours and get breaks at work.
  • Familiarise yourself with who your "Freedom to speak up Guardian" is.

Additional resources to support your UK practice

GMC free workshops for overseas doctors

The GMC runs free workshops to help doctors new to the UK, by offering practical guidance about ethical scenarios you may encounter, and the chance to connect with other doctors coming from abroad.

Book your free place

GMC Welcome to UK practice self assessment tool helps you to understand and apply the principles and values of Good Medical Practice in the UK. Completing the anonymous self assessment will gives you insight into your level of knowledge and understanding of how the standards apply to your daily practice.

Access GMC welcome to UK practice tool

RCPCH online learning

The RCPCH provides access to a number of free eLearning, webinars and podcasts accessible outside the UK. Please login on our RCPCH Learning site with your RCPCH number to access these resources. If you do not have an RCPCH number, please register for one.

Access RCPCH Learning

NHS Employers

NHS Employers has information aimed specifically at overseas-qualified medical practitioners including a document with an overview of the health service, the structure of the NHS, information on what to prepare and immigration requirements, as well as resources and links to details about terms and conditions and pay structures in the UK.

Access NHS Employers resource

British Medical Association

The BMA is the union representing doctors in the UK.

Access their guidance for overseas doctors.

Contact us

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