Guidance on choosing referees
If you are applying for specialist or GP registration with a CESR or CEGPR, you must choose four referees to provide a structured report.
Structured reports from your referees are an important part of your application. During the evaluation process, they are used to cross-reference your evidence and verify your work, training and experience. They should also provide detail on your personal attributes, skills and competencies from the last five years.
Who should I choose?
Your primary referee should be your current medical, divisional or clinical director, or someone of an equivalent position – for example, the head of your department if you are working outside of the UK.
It’s very important that we receive a structured report from your primary referee. Although you may not work with them on a day-to-day basis, or know them personally, they will be able to provide information on the outcome of the work in your unit, your involvement in trust activities and any issues of clinical governance or disciplinary action.
In our experience, your application is unlikely to be successful without a structured report from your current clinical or medical director.
Your other referees
At least two of your referees should be doctors in the specialty you are applying in, or a closely-related specialty. If you have undertaken Specialty or GP training in the last five years, one of the structured reports should be from your most recent programme director, regional specialty adviser or educational supervisor.
We recommend that all of your referees are on the Specialist or GP Register or are of equivalent standing. You may choose referees who do not hold this type of registration, or work in grades other than as a substantive consultant or GP - for example, locum consultants or associate specialists. However, their comments may not be given the same weight as a substantive consultant or GP, for example you may choose referees from a non-medical background, but they may not be able to comment on your clinical skills across the breadth of your specialty.
All of your referees should be able to comment from their own direct observations on your current level of expertise. If your referees have retired from practice more than three years ago, they may not be able to comment on your current skills.
You can choose more than four referees, but in our experience more than five or six structured reports from colleagues who can comment on your current skills is too many.
If you are unable to choose referees that meet the above criteria, we strongly advise you to delay submitting your application until you are able to do so.
What do I need to do before nominating my referees?
Please make sure you:
- have obtained their approval to choose them as a referee and that they are willing to complete a structured report for you
discuss your application with them and you have their support
- make them aware of the structured report process - the type of information and level of detail expected from them within their report is confirmed in our guidance for referees.
- give them a copy of your CV
- make them aware of how we will contact them for their report.
How will the GMC contact my referees?
GMC registered referees
You must give us the GMC number of each referee who has registration or previously held registration with us. We will only contact them using the contact details we have on our records.
You must confirm the GMC number with your referee to make sure it is accurate before you give it to us. There are many doctors with a similar name, so it’s very important that you give us the correct reference number.
Before you submit your application, you should ask your referees to make sure their contact details registered with us are up to date. They can update their details through their GMC Online account, or by getting in contact with us.
We usually contact referees by email. If your referee doesn’t have an email address registered with us, we’ll contact them by post instead.
Non-GMC registered referees
If your referee has never been registered with us, please give us their work/professional email address, not their personal email address. When we receive their report we’ll carry out additional checks to verify it.