Statement: How unregistered refugee doctors can support frontline colleagues

Over the past few weeks we’ve received a number of queries about whether refugees who are qualified medics in their home countries can support their colleagues on the frontline.

Una Lane, Director for Registration and Revalidation at the GMC said:

‘The NHS needs qualified doctors now more than ever, and we are enormously grateful to those who wish to make a contribution.

‘But we must ensure every doctor has the necessary skills and knowledge to practise safely in the UK. Communication is crucial to the provision of safe care and we must also be assured all doctors have adequate and appropriate English language skills.

‘Using our emergency powers we have added over 30,000 doctors to the register to support the government’s response to the pandemic. With the agreement of the chief medical officers in all four countries, we have focused initially on those doctors who were previously registered or licensed to practise with us but we have also welcomed a number of refugee doctors who passed their English language tests and our Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board exams. We have registered over 25 doctors with refugee status since the start of the year.

‘We continue to provide a range of support to refugee and migrant doctors who wish to register with us. In the meantime, applicants can provide vital assistance to the NHS through a range of roles that don't require registration.’

- Ends 


As yet unregistered refugee and migrant doctors can now play a part in the pandemic response as Medical Support Workers with NHS England. This will allow doctors who've passed an English test (OET/IELTS) to do some clinical tasks under supervision.

We’ll keep supporting refugee doctors to meet our requirements for joining the register in future. Find out more about the support we offer.