Nominate your referees

If you are applying for specialist or GP registration via the Portfolio pathway, you must choose a minimum of referees to provide a structured report in support of your application as set out in the SSG most closely related to your specialty.

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.

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.

Ask your referees to check their details are up to date in GMC Online

As we will be using their registered email address to request a structured report, it is also important you ask your referees to check their contact details are up to date before your application is submitted. Referees having out of date contact information can add delays to your application. They can update their details through their GMC Online account, or by contacting us.

Non-GMC registered referees

If your referee has never been registered with us, please provide details of their work/professional email address, not their personal email address. When we receive their report, we’ll carry out additional checks to verify it.

What information should my referee include?

As your application is assessed against the high level learning outcomes in the CCT curriculum for your specialty you should ask your referee to familiarise themselves with the current curriculum in your specialty. If you’re not applying in a CCT specialty, they should look at the curriculum for the nearest specialty.

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 high level learning outcomes in the relevant CCT curriculum.

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

Guidance for your referee

Guidance on completing the standard structured report form

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