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Working in Medicine for NHSScotland – your journey starts here!

If you are interested in coming to work in NHSScotland as a doctor, on this page you will find all the information you need to begin your journey. Working as a doctor is a vital, challenging and rewarding role that will put you at the heart of NHSScotland, working in a team of healthcare professionals working to meet the diverse needs of our patients and communities.

Whether you have just completed your undergraduate medical training, or you are an experienced consultant – there are fantastic career opportunities available to you in the NHS in Scotland. You will have the opportunity to be involved in quality improvement and research, teaching, medical education, management and mastery learning.

NHS doctors play an essential role in the care and safety of patients. You must be able to engage with colleagues to maintain and improve the safety and quality of patient care while contributing to discussions and decisions about improving the quality of services and outcomes.

Roles as a Doctor

Working in a medical role in the NHS in Scotland is filled with opportunity and development. Doctors work in all areas of healthcare, providing you with lots of career options. As part of your career training, you’ll have the opportunity to try out some these fantastic roles before choosing your speciality. The medical roles depending on your experience are detailed on this page.

Junior Doctor

If you have completed your undergraduate medical training overseas and are now looking to work in NHSScotland for your post graduate training, we can support you.

Whether it is your Foundation Year Training, Core or Speciality Training or GP Registrar training, you can find further information on the Scottish Medical Training website.The Scottish Deanery also provides you information on the steps you need for your application, and what it is like to work in NHSScotland as an International Medical Graduate.

If you are an International Medical Graduate who has some post graduate training experience and are now looking for experience in working in the NHS in Scotland, you have the option to apply for a Clinical Development Fellow or Clinical Fellow post directly with the NHSScotland Health Boards. You must apply directly to a job advert on the NHSScotland jobs website, visit for more details.

Medical Training Initiative (MTI)

The Medical Training Initiative (MTI) is a scheme which allows international junior and middle-grade doctors to train and work in the UK for up to 2 years, before returning to their home country.

International Medical Graduates benefit greatly from the knowledge, skills and techniques learned within the NHS and can use them to improve the level of patient care in their home country on their return.

To apply for a MTI opportunity in Scotland, you will need to contact the relevant Royal College based on the specialty you are interested in. For more information on the MTI opportunities and for a list of the Royal Colleges who offer the scheme, visit

Specialty and Specialist (SAS) Doctor

To work as a SAS Doctor with NHSScotland, you must have a full registration to practice with the GMC and have completed at least four year’s full-time postgraduate training (or equivalent) at least two of which will be in a relevant specialty training programme or have equivalent experience of the specialty you are applying for. Many people choose to become an SAS doctor as an alternative to becoming a consultant or General Practitioner (GP). Further guidance for SAS doctors can be found on the Scotland Deanery web pages.

To apply for a SAS role within NHS Scotland, you need to apply directly to a job advert on the NHSScotland jobs website -


A Consultant is a senior doctor who has overall responsibility for the care of patients in hospital. To work as a Consultant in NHSScotland, you must have completed a minimum of six years training in your speciality area to gain a certificate of completion of training (CCT) and be listed on the General Medical Council's specialist register, as well as having full license to practice. Alternatively, if you have not trained in the UK, you may be able to gain specialist registration through the Certificate of Eligibility for Specialist Registration (CESR) route instead of CCT.

To apply for a consultant role within NHS Scotland, you need to apply directly to a job advert on the NHSScotland jobs website - visit our job site here.

General Practitioner (GP)

Working as a GP in NHSScotland, you have the opportunity to work in a primary care setting, within a city, town or in a rural environment depending on your experience, and what you are looking for.

Since 1 April 2006, all doctors working in general practice in the NHS in the UK (other than doctors in training such as GP registrars) are required to be on the GP Register. This requirement extends to locums. If you have not completed the UK GP Certificate of Completion programme you will need to apply for a Certificate of Eligibility for General Practice Registration (CEGPR), which will then enable you to be entered on the GP Register.

You must have a full license to practice with the GMC.

To apply for a GP role within NHS Scotland, you must apply directly to a job advert on the NHSScotland jobs website – visit our job site here.

You can find out more about working as a GP in NHSScotland here.

What working as a medic has to offer you

Scotland is known as the home of Medical Excellence with NHSScotland recognised as one of the best healthcare systems in the world. We're the biggest employer in Scotland, with 21 Health Boards across the country, employing over 172,500 people.

Choosing a career in medicine in NHSScotland is an excellent opportunity and your chance to work with one of the largest health organisations in the world.

Scotland’s workforce is diverse and multicultural – just like our patients. We often look beyond the UK to attract the best candidates, and we treat all candidates in the same way.

NHSScotland does offer relocation support, however, please check with your employing Board what the offer includes.

All Boards offer the same great benefits to their NHSScotland staff including:

  • a competitive pay and benefits package
  • generous annual leave
  • good pension entitlements
  • continuing professional development opportunities

You can visit the NHSScotland Management Steering Group website to find out more about terms and conditions and pay.

You can find out more about the terms the terms and conditions of pay here.

You can also learn more about the NHSScotland Pension Scheme here.

Continuing professional development

Throughout their career, doctors are required to keep their knowledge and skills up to date to help maintain professional standards. As a doctor, you'll need to show evidence of your education and learning, as this contributes to appraisals and revalidation, NHSScotland offers a wealth of opportunities to enhance your learning and development.

Work-life balance

Scotland offers excellent work/life balance. We care about you, your wellbeing and making sure you have time during the working week to enjoy and experience life. Working within a medical role in NHSScotland, you will be offered shift work, however there are plenty of days off scheduled in, so you'll get the chance to enjoy life.

Eligibility and requirements

Are you ready to join the NHSScotland medical workforce? To work as a doctor in NHSScotland, you must have completed an undergraduate medical bachelor’s degree either in medicine or surgery. Depending on what role you are looking for, you will need to look at the specific requirements, please read on for further details.

General Medical Council (GMC)

In the UK, the General Medical Council (GMC) is the public body that maintains the official register of medical practitioners within the United Kingdom. Its chief responsibility is to “protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the public” by controlling entry to the register, and suspending or removing members when necessary. It also sets the standards for medical schools in the UK.

To practice medicine in Scotland, you must have a valid GMC Registration with a Licence to Practice – this is known as Full Registration.

Below are the main types of registration which allow doctors to work in different roles. You can find out more from the GMC website, by clicking on each option:

To find out how to register, please visit the GMC website. As there are many routes to gaining GMC Full Registration, this will depend on many factors including your nationality, qualifications and experience. This tool will identify the correct route for you and will give you guidance on the steps you need to take.

There are costs involved in gaining your GMC registration. Please check the Fees webpage of the GMC website for further information.

Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB)

The PLAB test helps the General Medical Council to ensure doctors who qualified abroad have the right knowledge and skills to practise medicine in the UK.

Do I need to take the PLAB test?

You will probably need to take the PLAB test if you graduated from a medical school outside of the UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland. There are some exceptions, which can be found on the GMC website.

The PLAB test will check that you have the knowledge and are able to do the same as a doctor starting the second year of their Foundation Programme training in the UK (FY2).

What does the PLAB test involve?

PLAB test is split into two parts:

  • Part 1 - This is a written, multiple-choice exam with 180 single best answer questions
  • Part 2 - This is a practical objective structured clinical exam, known as OSCE

You will have to pass both parts before you can apply for GMC registration.

What will you need before taking the PLAB?

Before you can book the PLAB test, you'll need to set up a GMC Online account and show that your medical qualification and knowledge of English are acceptable. Once those are approved and your account is authorised, you will be able to book a place on Part 1 of the PLAB test.

PLAB Part 1

This is a written multiple-choice exam with 180 questions, which you must answer within three hours. Each question starts with a short scenario and is followed by a question, which you need to choose the right answer to out of the five possible answers given. You can sit Part 1 in a number of countries, as well as in the UK. The list of countries can be found on the GMC website.

PLAB Part 2

This is a practical objective structured clinical exam, which is made up of 18 scenarios. The scenarios each last eight minutes and aim to reflect real life settings including a mock consultation or an acute ward. Part 2 tests only run in our Clinical Assessment Centre in Manchester. To find out the dates, please go to the GMC website.

Passed your PLAB 1 and PLAB 2 tests?

You can now officially apply for registration with a licence to practise in the UK. Please note that your application must be approved within two years of passing Part 2 of the test.

5 Steps to starting your medical career in Scotland

Application process

Getting your application started is easy. There are a number of stages to the NHSScotland Recruitment Process.

If you have a disability or medical condition or individual need which may affect your performance in our selection process, please advise our recruitment team contacts if we can support you. We welcome the opportunity to discuss any reasonable adjustments to our recruitment process to ensure we adapt our process for you fairly.

The vacancies which are currently being advertised can be found on our vacancy website. You will need to complete an application form to apply for a role within NHSScotland, we do not accept CVs. There is a step-by-step instruction on the vacancy website if you need help to complete an application form however it is relatively straightforward.

Upon a job advert closing your application will be sent to a shortlisting panel. The panel will assess your suitability for the post you have applied to. If successful at this stage, you will be invited to attend a formal interview. Depending on your current location and availability we will discuss your options for either a video interview or attending an interview in person.

The interviews last approximately an hour. During this time, you will be asked a number of competency-based questions where the panel will be looking for you to provide examples from your previous experience to support your application. Depending on the medical role you have applied for, you might be asked to prepare a presentation for the interview or do an assessment before the interview.

The interview panel will consist of a representative from each of the recruiting Health Boards, each of whom has experience in the role you have applied for. Throughout the interview, you will be given a score based on your responses.

You will then be advised of the outcome of your interview.

Upon being offered a post you will be contacted by Medical Staffing team, within the Health Board you have been appointed to, to ensure you are fully supported with your move to Scotland.

If you have been offered a post within one of NHSScotland’s Health Boards, you will be issued a Certificate of Sponsorship to allow you to apply for a Health and Care Worker visa.

This visa will grant you entry to the UK and allow you to work within the role and the Health Board in which you have been offered a position.

In addition to the Certificate of Sponsorship that the employing NHS Health Board will supply, you must be able to meet the other eligibility requirements.

To find out more about the Certificate of Sponsorship, please visit the UK Government's Website.

If you are looking for a medical training post in NHSScotland, you will need to apply for this via the Oriel recruitment portal, further details are available on the Scotland Specialty Recruitment website.

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