Brexit – Information for doctors
Many doctors, and others, will have questions about how the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) will affect doctors from Europe already working in the UK, and those who may wish to do so in the future.
Over the past 12 months we've been working closely with the four UK health departments to ensure that doctors aren’t deterred from practising here and to minimise disruption to the UK workforce, regardless of how the UK exists the EU.
We hope the information below will answer some of the questions you might have. We will update this page as and when circumstances change.
Where we refer to the European Economic Area (EEA) below, this includes all countries within the EU as well as Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway.
What happens if a deal is approved by the UK Parliament and the EU?
If the deal is agreed by the UK Parliament and the EU before the 31 January 2020, we'll enter into a transition period until 31 December 2020.
We expect that there would be no change to how we register doctors for the duration of the transition period. What happens after that depends on the outcome of negotiations throughout this period.
How will EEA and Swiss doctors join the register after Brexit?
If the UK and the EU agree a deal, we will enter into a transition period until 31 December 2020. We expect there would be no change to how we register doctors for the duration of the transition period.
In the event of no deal, earlier this year we received assurance that doctors with relevant European qualifications* will still be able to register with us in a streamlined and timely way. Given the huge and valuable contribution doctors from the EEA make to our healthcare systems, we worked with the four UK health departments to shape this legislation.
*Qualifications listed under Annex V of the Recognition of Professional Qualifications directive.
What will happen to doctors from Europe already on your register if the UK leaves the EU without a deal?
The registration status of the majority of doctors from the EEA and Switzerland who already hold registration with the GMC will not be affected.
If we think your registration status may be affected by Brexit (for example EEA or Swiss doctors holding temporary and occasional registration), we'll contact you to discuss the options available to you.
I’ve got an application for GMC registration in progress. What will happen to my registration when the UK leaves the EU?
All applications from EEA and Swiss doctors submitted by 11 pm on the 31 January 2020 will be processed under the existing rules.
How will Brexit affect doctors with provisional registration, as opposed to doctors with full registration?
If the UK leaves with a deal, there will be no change to how we register doctors.
If the UK leaves without a deal, any EEA or Swiss doctors who hold provisional registration on the 31 January 2020 will be able to apply for full registration under the arrangements as they were, before the UK left the EU.
How will Brexit affect doctors from the UK who want to work in Europe?
If the UK leaves with a deal, there should be no change in how you gain registration in EEA countries during the transition period. What happens after that will of course depend on the outcome of the negotiations throughout this period.
If the UK leaves without a deal, EEA countries and Switzerland would no longer automatically recognise qualifications from the UK. Instead, doctors with a UK qualification would have to apply to work in an EEA country or Switzerland as an applicant from a third country. These processes differ from country to country, so you'll need to contact the regulator in the country you wish to work in, to verify the process.
When will any changes as a result of Brexit come into effect?
The timing for any changes to be introduced will depend on whether the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by Parliament and the EU and whether there is a transition period.