To practise medicine in the UK all doctors are required by law to be both registered and hold a licence to practise.
Doctors work in many different environments. Those who treat patients must be registered with a licence to practise. This applies to all doctors irrespective of whether they practise full time, part time, as a locum, privately or in the NHS, or whether they are employed or self-employed.
Only doctors who are registered with a licence to practise can, for example:
- Work as a doctor in the NHS
- Write prescriptions
- Sign death or cremation certificates
Licensing is the first step towards the introduction of revalidation. This new approach to medical regulation will give patients and employers regular assurance that their doctors are up to date and fit to practise.
Licences will require periodic renewal by revalidation. When revalidation begins licensed doctors will be required to demonstrate to the GMC that they are practising in accordance with the generic standards of practice set by the GMC (as described in Good medical practice).
This section contains the following information:
- Regulations and guidance
- Information for employers and other organisations
- Information for patients
Overseas medical regulators can also download a briefing on licensing (pdf, 1Mb), which explains the changes that were made to the registration arrangements for UK doctors on 16 November 2009.
Read more about revalidation.