The medical register

Doctors must be registered with a licence to practise with the General Medical Council (GMC), to practise medicine in the UK.

Why we have the register

Patients trust doctors with their lives and wellbeing. They need to have confidence that doctors are competent in their field and abide by high ethical standards.

Our duty is to protect this public interest. By keeping up-to-date registers of qualified doctors, we aim to ensure that all registered doctors maintain the standards the public and the medical profession expect.

The principle standards are set out in our guidance, Good medical practice.

Is a doctor on the register and do they have a licence to practise?

You can check if a doctor is on the register and if they are licensed to practise online. Our online register is called the List of Registered Medical Practitioners - also known as the medical register.

Patients can download our leaflet Understanding a doctor's registration which explains why only doctors who are registered with a licence to practise may treat patients by law.

Accessing the Specialist and GP Registers

The Specialist and GP Registers are registers of specialists and general practitioners eligible to work in the UK health service. The List of Registered Medical Practitioners shows if a doctor is on the Specialist or GP Register, or both

Information for employers

If you employ doctors you must make sure they hold the appropriate type of registration for the work you have employed them to do. Please read our online help Employing a doctor.

You can find an explanation of the different types of registration and routes into registration on our online help page General information about registration and licensing.

Licensing and revalidation

We introduced licensing on 16 November 2009 and revalidation on 3 December 2012. All doctors with a licence to practise regularly have to prove to us that they are up to date and fit to practise medicine.

This means that the licence to practise is no longer simply the recognition of a doctor’s qualifications at a point in time. It is becoming an indicator that the doctor continues to meet the professional standards set by the GMC and the specialists standard set by the medical Royal Colleges and Faculties. The process of checking this evidence is called revalidation.