Overview of the English language requirements for the GMC
A fundamental part of GMC registration is proving that you have the ability to clearly and efficiently communicate with both patients and other medical professionals in English – this is paramount to ensuring patient safety. English language use is split into four sections: speaking, reading, writing and listening.
The GMC recognises that there are various ways a Doctor can demonstrate their English language proficiency and for this reason, they accept various forms of evidence – including the Structured English Language Reference (SELR) form. In this article we will outline all of the ways in which you can evidence your English language skills to the GMC.
Evidence 1 – IELTS
The first way to evidence your English language abilities is via the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). To pass IELTS you must achieve a score no less than 7 in each form of communication (speaking, reading, writing and listening) and have an overall score of 7.5 or more. You should note that the GMC will only accept an IELTS score that has been attained within the last two years. However, if you passed IELTS more than two years ago but can evidence to the GMC that your English language skills have not depreciated in the time since passing, then they may still award you a license. Types of evidence that may be accepted include taking a postgraduate course which has been taught and examined in English or working in a country where English is the native first language.
If you would like more information on taking IELTS, what to expect and tips and tricks to passing – please see our Overview of IELTS blog.
Evidence 2 – OET
Similar to IELTS, the Occupational English Test (OET) is an objective professional English test. The main difference is that it tests your English language purely in a medical context.
Evidence 3 – Primary Medical Qualification taught in English
Another way to evidence your language skills is to provide the GMC with a recent Primary Medical Qualification which has been taught or examined in English. The GMC declare that 75% of all clinical interaction within a Primary Medical Qualification must have been conducted in English so please ensure you hold your degree from an approved medical institution before applying via this route. As with other evidence requirements, the GMC require the qualification to have been achieved recently – if your qualification was not achieved within the last two years then the GMC will alternatively accept evidence that you have been working in an English speaking country for at least two years. In this instance, the GMC will ask your employing hospital to provide written references which include details of the your role and responsibilities relevant to English language use.
Further details on what is considered an authorised Primary Medical Qualification can be found here.
Evidence 4 – Language test taken with a native English medical authority
You can also provide evidence of a recent pass in a language test administered by a medical authority in a country where English is the first language – for example, Australia (MBA) and USA (USMLE).
Evidence 5 – Structured English Language Reference (SELR)
The final way to evidence your English language capability is to provide the GMC with a written offer of employment from a UK hospital which is accompanied by a completed SELR form. The hospital who has offered you a position (which must be a GMC designated body) will have to interview you clinically and send you a provisional offer letter, before completing, signing and sending an SELR form back to the GMC. This must include your GMC reference number and have a signature of the interviewing doctors and Responsible Offer (RO) for the Trust – often the Medical Director. The SELR form should provide comprehensive evidence of all aspects of your language skills and why the Trust feel you should be exempted from other English Language testing.
Please note: there is a very specific procedure to follow which BDI Resourcing has perfected and documented through years of use, so if you are hoping to utilise this as a way of evidencing your English language then please get in touch for further advice. It is not possible for everyone to use an SELR form and it is assessed on a case by case basis. The SELR form can be found here.
Useful blog articles if you decide against the SELR route:
- GMC Registration – what routes are available?
- Overview of IELTS
- Overview of postgraduate qualifications
- Overview of PLAB
If you are an IMG who is considering moving to the UK then take a look at our jobs board to view current vacancies and if you think any vacancies are the perfect opportunity for you then please email your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org