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Population: 64,8 million

The UK population increases every year. If foreigners represent a non-negligible part of the population (ex: 831 000 Polish, 286 000 German, 153 000 French), the Brexit threw doubt on the evolution of immigration rate.

The larger part of the population is located in England (83%) especially in the South. Comparatively, only 3% of the UK population lives in Northern Ireland. The urbanization rate is 82,6%.

Life expectancy is 80,7 and the average age of the population is 40,5.

29,43% of the population is under 25 and 18,04% is above 65.

Climate: The territory is subject to an oceanic climate: clement but unsettled with frequent rainfalls.

Spoken languages and religion: English is the official language of the United Kingdom (94%). There are six regional languages, notably, Welsh, Gaelic or Irish. On account of immigration, foreign languages spoken in UK are Polish, Punjabi or Urdu.

The Christian religion is the main religion in the UK (59,3%) divided between Anglicanism in England and Presbyterian Scotland. But 25% of the population self declares as without religion. There is a decrease in regular churchgoers.

Non-working days and holidays: There are 6 national public holidays, and 2 others (Easter Monday, August bank holiday) except for Scotland which has 3 specific public holidays. In Northern Ireland, there are 2 other public holidays (St Patrick’s Day, Battle of the Boyne). An employer does not have an obligation to pay employees during a public holiday.

Generally, the maximum of working hours is 48 a week with 20 days of paid leave per year.


Health care sector The healthcare system is mainly managed by the public system – National Health Service (NHS) – against fees, every permanent resident can benefit from this system which includes primary care, outpatient care, ophthalmology and dentistry. However, the private healthcare system is made of private hospitals and clinics, which act independently from the National Health Service. In order to have access to private healthcare treatment, a patient must have a personal private health insurance.

There was a 22% rise in the number of doctors registered as specialists as well as a growth of 9% of the number of GPs over the last 5 years. Even though the medical population is growing old in the UK, it is not a critical situation. 36.8% of doctors working in the UK market come from overseas.


  • National Doctors :

Doctors can only apply for full registration once they have completed their training and hold their specialty degree. Before reaching that stage, trainees can apply for a provisional registration to have the right to practice.

Local practitioners are aware of the procedures they must undertake to be allowed to practice in the UK. Once they have graduated, doctors begin the procedures with the completion of a program for provisionally registered doctors. In the UK, this program is called the UK Foundation Program year 1 (F1). It is considered as a provisional registration.

Doctors hold this type of registration for a maximum of 3 years and 30 days (1125 days).

These doctors are only permitted to take up F1 positions within the Foundation Program and have a license to practice.

Locum Appointments for Training (LAT), which last between 3 months to 1 year, are also available for doctors whose Foundation School has been involved in helping them find an LAT position. These positions are part of a program and lead to the award of a Certificate of Experience. Concerning  students who have studied in the UK, they must also have the approval of their medical school to take a  LAT position.

The Certificate of Experience is also awarded to doctors having successfully completed their F1, providing evidence meet the requirements for full registration. After their registration, doctors must conform to all rules and regulations.

Provisionally registered practitioners can undertake two types of training : Locum Appointment for service (LAS) and Locum Appointment for training (LAT) posts. They are both undertaken at registrar grade. The difference between the two posts lies in the final award delivered at the end of the training.

LAS posts are not approved as official training purposes as they are specific to one service element of a higher training program (such as clinics, lists or on call duties). They are short term, an average 3 months.

It is important to note that foreign doctors, holding an undergraduate degree from their own country, are undertaking The Foundation Year Program in the UK in order to have a higher possibility to enter this market.

In the UK job market, most employers give priority to doctors who have already held a position at the NHS, they will then consider doctors who have worked in the EU and then worldwide. Currently there is a shortage of staff in the UK, which means it is an attractive market for both EU and non-EU medical staff.


  • Foreign Doctors :


It is possible to practice as a foreign doctor in UK, but different procedures exist according to the situation of the requerant. In all cases, to have the right to practice in the UK, doctors need to assess a certain level of English knowledge. A score of 7,5/10 is required by the GMC when taking the IELTS[1]. If not reached, doctors will not be able to go any further in the registration process.

Once the doctor submits his information online, he/she will need to book an identity check at the GMC offices in London or Manchester.

If the Doctor holds a PMQ from Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa, West Indies:  Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Africa and the West Indies have specific agreements with the United Kingdom regarding doctors registration. There is no linguistic check needed.

Doctor with a nationality from outside Europe or countries previously mentioned: There are different paths to register to the NHS according to the doctor’s country of origin. Whether they are from/have studied in, a country of the European Economic Area or from the countries mentioned above, they will not have to follow the path described in the following paragraphs. For all other situations that are not explained above, doctors will have to undertake the different step explained bellow :

ACCEPTABLE POST GRADUATE QUALIFICATIONS : The GMC has established a list of postgraduate qualifications that the UK accepts as proof of necessary knowledge. If doctors did not obtain their primary qualification from an institute listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools register, they are not allowed to apply for the full registration.

TAKING THE PLAB EXAMINATION : Whether the doctor has European Commission rights (EC rights), a sponsorship under an arrangement approved by the GMC, an approved postgraduate qualification or an eligibility to enter the GP or specialist register, the following steps are not applicable. Doctors will have to pass a two-part test (written and practical part) called the PLAB before applying to the general registration. From September 2017, candidates will have to take the written and the practical parts of the test with a maximum of 4 attempts at each.

Once licensed, doctors have successfully passed the PLAB test, have the right to apply for a registration. According to the GMC, the application takes between 4 to 6 weeks to be granted.

Once the Full Registration is obtained, doctors have to apply for a GP or a specialty registration.


More information:



[1] The International English Language Testing System (IELTS) measures the language proficiency of people who want to study or work where English is used as a language of communication. It uses a nine-band scale to clearly identify levels of proficiency, from non-user (band score 1) through to expert (band score 9).