Brexit – Information for doctors

Many doctors, and others, have questions about how the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU) in March 2019 will affect doctors from Europe already working in the UK, and those who may wish to work here in the future.

We've been working closely with the four UK health departments to minimise any disruption to the UK workforce after March. While we await more information from the UK Government about what our future relationship with Europe will look like, we are doing all we can to prepare for the various scenarios that we may face. 

We hope the information below will answer some of the questions you might have. These answers are based on the information we have available at the time of publishing (Monday 11 February 2019). In the event that circumstances change we will update this page as soon as possible.

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 there’s a deal before 29 March 2019?

If the UK and EU agree a deal before 29 March 2019, we would 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 will happen to doctors from Europe already on your register if the UK leaves the EU without a deal at the end of March?

The registration status of the majority of doctors from the EEA and Switzerland who already hold registration with the GMC will not be affected when the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019. 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 what options are available to you.

Will the registration process change for EEA qualified doctors and medical students wanting to join the UK register in the future?

As we don’t yet know what the terms of our exit from the EU will be, there is still uncertainty around how this might impact on EEA or Swiss doctors wishing to join our register after March 2019. However, we’ve been working with the UK Government and officials in the devolved nations to make sure there are no disproportionate obstacles for EEA or Swiss doctors wishing to work here in the future. We'll publish further information as soon as we know more. 

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 29 March 2019 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 without a deal, any EEA or Swiss doctors who hold provisional registration on 29 March 2019 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 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 will 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?

Current plans mean that the UK is scheduled to leave the EU on 29 March 2019 at 11 pm. The timing for any changes to be introduced will depend on whether the Withdrawal Agreement with Europe is approved by Parliament and whether there is a transition period. We will update these FAQs as soon as we have more information.