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Medical Qualifications

medical qualifications

When a doctor is looking after you, it is good to know that they have qualifications but what do they all mean?

If you choose to become a doctor in the UK it will take five years of study. Once this has been successfully completed you would receive a degree. You can then register with the GMC (The General Medical Council). Once this is done, you spend a year as a pre-registration House Officer before becoming fully registered to practise medicine.

A doctor who only has a basic medical qualification is not to undertake unsupervised surgical procedures.

Basic medical qualifications include:

  • MBBS – Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery
  • MBChB – Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery

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Your GP or family Doctor

has undertaken basic medical training then goes on to spend three years of vocational training. The broad spectrum of medical conditions they treat requires a broad knowledge.


are doctors who have undertaken basic medical training who then go on to specialise in surgery.

They will spend two years’ training in general surgery, incorporating all the specialties and then a further five or six more years specialising in a chosen  type of surgery.

When they successfully complete training and pass their exams they use these abbreviations:-

  • FRCS – Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of England

  • FRCS(Ed) – Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh

  • FRCS (Glas) – Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Glasgow

  • FRCSI – Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

The qualifications below show that a surgeon is highly qualified and experienced in their chosen surgical specialty:-

  • FRCS (GenSurg) – Specialist Fellowship in General Surgery

  • FRCS(OFMS) – Specialist Fellowship in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

  • FRCS (Otol) – Specialist Fellowship in Otolaryngology( for ear, nose and throat surgery)

  • FRCS(ORL) – Specialist Fellowship in Otorhinolayryngology – Head and Neck / Facial Plastic Surgery

  • FRCSPlast – Specialist Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in England who has passed specialist examinations in plastic surgery

  • FRCOthph – Specialist Fellowship in Ophthalmology (for eye specialists)

  • MRCOthph – Member of the Royal College of Opthalmologists (for eye specialists)

  • FRCP/MRCP – Fellow/member of the Royal College of Physicians (for specialists in dermatology

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are doctors who have undertaken basic medical training. They then go on to complete seven years anaesthetic specialist training, when they have completed and passed their exams they can use the following abbreviation 

  • FRCA – Fellow of the Royal College of Anaesthetists

Overseas doctors, surgeons and anaesthetists:

undertake training in their home country and then come to the UK to work. Their qualifications are not be the same as those I have listed. However, all doctors from abroad must be registered by the GMC before they can practice in the UK.

Surgeons from the EU:

who have trained in recognised establishments will be on the GMC specialist register.

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Surgeons from outside the EU

will also appear on the register if their qualifications and training have been assessed by the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board. - General Medical Council


Study for five years leading to a degree they then spend a year working in a dental practice. They can then register with the General Dental Council. Once they have done this they are allowed to practice dentistry in the UK.
Their conduct is governed by the General Dental Council and is set out in the Council’s publication “Standards for Dental Professionals”. They Provide a search facility that allows users to check a dentist’s registration.

  • BDS – Bachelor of Dental Surgery

  • BChD – Bachelor of Dental Surgery

  • MFDSRCS – Member in Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons

  • FDSRCS – Fellow in Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons

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undertake three years of study and practical experience at degree or diploma level before they qualify, specialising in adult, children’s, mental health or learning disability nursing.
Post basic qualifications can and are often undertaken meaning nurses become specialists in a wide variety of nursing roles in the community, in hospitals and other organisation.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC):

register and records qualifications for which the NMC sets standards. Qualified nurses must register with the NMC. They provide a search facility that allows users to check a nurse’s registration.

  • RN – Registered Nurse
  • RGN – Registered General Nurse
  • BA (Hons)/BSc/Diploma in Nursing

Helpful Links  - Health Professions Council – Is an independent, UK-wide health regulator. They set standards of professional training, performance and conduct for thirteen professions. We keep a register of health professionals that meet our standards, and we take action if registered health professionals do not meet our standards. We were created by a piece of legislation called the Health Professions order 2001.  General Dental Council -Are the organisation which regulates dental professionals in the UK. All dentists, dental hygienists, dental therapists, clinical dental technicians and orthodontic therapists must be registered in the UK.
As from the 31July 2008 all dental nurses and technicians must be registered  General Medical Council - Doctors must be registered with the (GMC) to practise medicine in the UK. The GMC's duty is to protect public interest. By keeping up-to-date registers of qualified doctors, they aim to ensure that all registered doctors maintain the standards the public and the medical profession expect. Is a doctor on the register? You can check whether a doctor is on the register online.

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