Your referees

The specialty specific guidance (SSG) for your specialty sets out the number of referees you should nominate and who these individuals should be.

We recommend that all of your referees are on the Specialist or GP Register or are of equivalent standing, unless otherwise stated in your SSG. 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.

If you choose a referee from a non-medical background, unless specified in your SSG, they may not be able to comment on your clinical skills across the breadth of your specialty, and their comments may not be given the same weight as a substantive consultant or GP.

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.

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.

Before you nominate your 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.
  • provide them with a link to Guidance on completing the standard structured report form

Contacting your referees

GMC registered referees

Please provide the GMC number of each referee who is registered with us or has previously held registration with us. We will only communicate with them using the contact details we have on our records.

You must confirm their 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.

What information should my referee include?

Your referee needs to provide information about you based on their direct knowledge. For reports to be as useful as possible, they should be detailed and give specific examples of how your referee has seen you demonstrate the competencies in your specialty.

If your referee doesn’t have direct knowledge of your experience, they can enter ‘No direct knowledge’ in that section.

Additional guidance your referee should read

Guidance on completing the Academic or Research structured report form

If you or your referee has any questions about completion of the structured report, please email us on