Blogs > NHS Recruitment Process

How do I prepare my references for an NHS application?

  • October 28, 2021

The very final section of your CV should be your references. We have a reference template that you can use if you are unsure of how to lay this out, to obtain the template do email [email protected].

If you are an IMG relocating to the UK reference checking is also a crucial element of the pre-employment checks that will be conducted prior to your move to the UK, so it is important you are aware of what you need before you start looking for an NHS position. The references on your CV should cover at least three years of employment. It is common for the NHS to require at least three individual references to cover this period, thus if you have been in the same employment for the last three years you may be required to acquire two additional references from this employer.

What is an employment history check?

An employment history and reference check are procedures that employers must go through to verify information that an individual has already submitted as part of their application. It enables employers to gain a deeper understanding of an individual's previous employment, training, and/or other community activities, such as volunteer work, which may help confirm a recruiting selection.

Why do the NHS require references?

Although the requirement of reference checks is not reinforced by law, hospitals do have a duty of care to their patients and other staff members to ensure all employees have gone through reasonable checks to guarantee a safe working environment.

What are the reference requirements?

Factual references should be routinely sought as part of the selection process for all appointments in the NHS. Reference requests should be made after the interview process has taken place and once a provisional offer of appointment has been made.

As stated in the introduction you will need to have references to cover the last three years of your career. Ideally you should ensure that your three references are from Consultants or Senior members of staff who you’ve reported to directly as they will be expected to comment on your ability to carry out responsibilities of the job that you have applied for. You must ensure that your references are aware that their details have been given out as a referee and they are aware of the role you have applied for so that their account of your skills can be tailored to your application.

How do you present references on a medical CV?

Some doctors opt state that references are available on request at the end of their CV; if you do wish to list them then you should adopt the below format:

[Prefix] [First Name] [Second name], [job title] [organization], [location].

In addition, these details you can include their relevant qualifications.

What happens if you have employment gaps or are unable to get a reference?

In the instance that you are unable to acquire a reference from an individual don’t worry, you can usually contact the HR department of the hospital that you’ve worked for directly and they will be able to provide you with a basic reference covering the necessary timeframe needed. You must outline any employment gaps and explain how you kept up to date with medical practice during this time. 

How can we help?

If you’re an international doctor that has any questions regarding your CV or if you have completed your CV and are ready to look for a position within the NHS 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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