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GMC Updates in Response to COVID-19

  • March 25, 2020

We are very aware that the current worldwide situation with COVID-19 has caused concern and worry within our IMG Community. The current situation surrounding Coronavirus (COVID-19) will undoubtedly have a profound impact on the IMG Community for those at all stages of their relocation to the UK and those already here. BDI Resourcing are acutely aware of our responsibility to provide accurate information to the IMG community and we know that we are often a ‘go-to’ place for guidance and opinion.

In light of this, within this Blog Post we aim to outline the updates that have come from the GMC in regards to GMC Registration and international recruitment to keep you informed and aware that COVID-19 is NOT halting the recruitment of international Doctors into the NHS.

  1. ID Check delays and Postponements

We’ve seen over recent days that the GMC have not only started to extend the 3 month ID Check policy to up to 6 Months but they’ve also started to communicate to international Doctors that they will NOT need to attend ID checks at all, assuming that all their documents are in order. Please note that this is a temporary measure in response to the current COVID-19 Situation and ID Checks will eventually need to be completed. If you are unsure on whether you are expected to attend your ID check, do make sure you contact the GMC Directly.

  1. Revalidation deferrals

The General Medical Council has also recently announced that if you are due to revalidate before the end of September 2020, this will be deferred for one year. This has been done in hope to support you in prioritising clinical care for patients during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

  1. Temporary Registration for 15,000 Doctors

The GMC have released a statement to say that the UK Government will be requiring them to give temporary registration to 15,000 Doctors who have left the register or given up their license to practice over the last three years. This is a direct response and action against the COVID-19 pandemic. The Doctors being contacted for this measure will meet the following criteria:

  • Left the register or gave up their license to practice in the last 3 years
  • Have a UK Address
  • Don’t have any outstanding complaints, sanctions

Whilst we are aware that the majority of our IMG Community may not be affected by this update, we believe the action itself highlights the UK’s need for more doctors and thus the need for international recruitment.

  1. Postponement of Royal College and PLAB Exams

We understand that some of you are concerned about your upcoming postgraduate exams that were scheduled for the Summer or the next coming weeks. Following recent government advice, Colleges have made the decision to cancel all exams. According to the GMC, all Doctors who are missing exams due to circumstances out of their control will not be disadvantaged, and their payments will carry over to next year or be refunded. Each Royal College does have it’s own statement, discussing their own individual policies and Exam postponement date. We advise, you keep up to date via their websites. You can view the full GMC Statement for doctors in training here.

In regards to PLAB Tests, all PLAB 2 Tests from 18th March until at least 1st July 2020 are cancelled, due to COVID-19 health and safety concerns. If you have already paid to sit your Test, you will get an automatic refund from the GMC. Please note, currently PLAB 1 Tests are still operating at normal. For more information about PLAB tests and extensions for validity of English Language Evidence, please visit the GMC Statement and FAQ’s here.

  1. ‘Breaking Down Barriers to International Recruitment’ – Statement from the Chief of GMC

Whilst this speech was not a direct correspondence to the current COVID-19 outbreak, we think this is an important update to share with you, that suggests positive reform of the NHS Recruitment process;

"We need more flexibility. That doesn't mean a reduction in standards, simply a change to legislation to give us more discretion for determining how senior international doctors can demonstrate their knowledge and skills."

The Chief Executive of the GMC went on to state, that the UK continues to be a popular destination for international medical graduates. Last year, for the first time, the UK saw more graduates joining the workforce from overseas than coming out of UK medical schools.

This update from the GMC highlights that the NHS is acknowledging the need to not only recruit and retain more doctors, but also widen access for the practitioners of the future. The speech ended with ‘The GMC want to increase the rate at which senior doctors can join the workforce – meaning more practitioners to support patients in need.’


Whilst we understand that the delays or cancellations of certain Examinations and steps towards your GMC Registration may be a cause for concern, we would like to remind all our IMG’s that these regulations and reforms are changing regularly and are in no way permanent.

Additionally, whilst the Coronavirus pandemic may be causing temporary obstacles for Doctors wanting to relocate, for the most part, the news and updates being released by the GMC highlights a growing awareness of the fact that the NHS needs more Doctors.


If you’re an international doctor looking to relocate to the UK, please email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS post and on your journey to relocate to the UK.

Are you a member of our Facebook group? When you join IMG Advisor, you join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of vlogs and blogs to the group every day. We will also be on hand to answer all of your relocation queries.

Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 60 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS!

Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go to IMG Advisor the Podcast. You can find us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Buzzsprout. We have a number of episodes with tips and advice on relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this.



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