Medical work and continuing education in Great Britain

Country facts and demographic data

Area: 244,820 km², population: 60.9 million (as of 2008)
15.80 % are older than 65, 67 % are between 15 and 64 years old, 17.20 % are younger than 14.

The capital is London; the official language is English.

Healthcare system

All individuals living in Great Britain are insured via the National Health Service (NHS), which is almost completely financed by taxes (over 80%). In this way, all people are guaranteed free medical treatment, regardless of their financial status or contributions. However, people are also free to choose private insurance.

Medical education and further training

Once the study of medicine has been completed, students have to complete the two-year Foundation Programme, a requirement for the medical specialist training. In this part of further training, students are required to accumulate experiences in different medical fields, before they decide on a specialist area. Further information at:

Specialist training

Specialist training begins after the completion of the Foundation Programme. A specialisation in General Medicine takes about three years, in the other fields about four to six years. The degree awarded at the end of specialist training is the Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT). After receiving the degree, doctors are allowed to work as general practitioners or consultants.


Registration with the General Medical Council (GMC) is required for medical practice; further information at:

Important addresses

Personal accounts

International Nurse Experience in the United Kingdom
by Heather Phillips
I am a nurse from California, United States. I grew up in Los Angeles and went to nursing school in San Diego. I always knew that I wanted to live and work abroad for a period of my young adulthood. I chose to work in the UK for several reasons. The first time I visited London as a college student, I absolutely fell in love with this city.

Elective in London
by Enise Beyzanur Ceran
First of all, let me start with a quote by Virginia Woolf: “To walk alone in London is the greatest rest”. In order to experience working in London and to get to know the British health care system, I decided to do a one-month elective in the Accident & Emergency sector during my fourth year.

Elective in Liverpool – Experience Report – Neurology
by Vineet Dhery
My elective placement took place at the NHS Trust Royal Liverpool Hospital in the city of Liverpool in England. Liverpool lies in northern England on the Mersey River and is the administrative capital of Merseyside county. It is located approximately 50 km from Manchester.

Working in the United Kingdom - NHS – To be or not to be
by Dr. Farshad Malekzadeh
"The working hours are flexible, but are generally divided into two and a half hour morning and evening sessions, in which you see people for 10-minute appointments; in between, you have a lunch break (in theory), do telephone consultations, make home visits, write letters, and deal with anything else that crops up."


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newTreeAMREF - African Medical and Research FoundationÄrztekammer für WienÖsterreichisches Rotes KreuzCentro per la Formazione Permanente e l'Aggiornamento del Personale del Servizio SanitarioSwiss Tropical and Public Health InstituteAGEM - Arbeitsgemeinschaft Ethnologie und MedizinHilfswerk Austria