The privileges and duties of doctors in the UK
As a doctor registered with the GMC with or without a licence to practise, you have a duty to comply with our guidance Good medical practice.
The privileges of licensed medical practitioners
A doctor who is registered with a licence to practise is permitted to carry out certain activities (often referred to as ‘privileges’). These include but are not restricted to:
- performing any duties as a physician, surgeon or other medical officer
- prescribing prescription-only medicine
- signing death certificates or other types of medical certificates
- assessing the mental health state of an individual and recommend compulsory treatment.
Doctors who are registered without a licence to practise cannot exercise these privileges.
An employer may require a doctor to be registered with a licence to practise in some cases, even where their activities may fall outside of the privileges mentioned above.
If you are a doctor and you are unclear for any reason whether you need a licence for the work you are doing, you should always seek advice from:
Doctors must be clear whether they are licensed, hold registration only, or neither. It is a criminal offence in the UK for a doctor to give the impression that they hold registration or a licence, if they don't.
For further information on the licence to practise, please see our frequently asked questions.