The licence to practise

What is a licence to practise?

Doctors who practise medicine in the UK need to hold a licence to practise along with the suitable type of registration for the work that they do. It is the licence to practise which allows them to carry out certain activities such as prescribing medicines and treating patients.

A doctor’s status on the medical register will show if they hold a licence or not.

If a doctor does hold a licence to practise, they have to take part in a process which shows us that they are up to date and fit to practise medicine in the UK. They do this by having regular appraisals with their employer and submitting evidence to us. This process is called revalidation. Read our explanation for patients about revalidation.

Some doctors hold registration without a licence. These doctors should not practise medicine in the UK, but chose to keep their registration to show that they are in good standing with us.

Guidance for doctors

Read our guide for doctors on managing and maintaining your registration and licence.

Guidance for employers and healthcare providers

Employers and healthcare providers must make sure that their doctors hold appropriate registration for their role, type of post or practice.

The licence gives doctors legal rights and privileges in the UK only. Doctors who work wholly outside of the UK do not need a licence to practice (except in crown dependencies).

Read our guide for employers on employing a doctor.