Medical support workers

In 2021-22, we prioritised £15 million of national funding to trusts to provide additional clinical support for the short-term recruitment of medical support workers (MSWs). Funding has now been agreed to continue this successful programme to the end of March 2023.

The MSW role is appropriate for medically qualified doctors who are resident in the UK but who do not have current registration with the General Medical Council (GMC). It is particularly suitable for international medical graduates or refugee doctors who are taking the PLAB exams. The MSW post offers an opportunity to put clinical skills into practice in a supervised placement and to gain experience working in the NHS. It is likely that some doctors employed as MSWs will be able to convert into long-term employees and progress their medical careers in the NHS.

The basic requirements for an MSW post are:

  1. A medical qualification registrable with the GMC
  2. Post graduate experience working as a doctor for at least one year to include 3 months each in medicine and surgery
  3. Proof of GMC-level proficiency in English
  4. Entitlement to reside and work in the UK. Holders of visitor visas are not eligible to apply.

If you have GMC registration or have already passed PLAB2, then you are not eligible to apply.
Please also note that you are not eligible for another placement if you have already worked as an MSW in the programme.

Our waiting list for this year is now closed while we process current applications. Further information will appear on this page if recruitment reopens. Please refer to NHS Jobs for MSW positions available outside the programme.

For general enquiries (not applications): please email

Please see these frequently asked questions for more information:

Yes, MSWs are paid at Band 6 on the national AfC scale with High-Cost Area Supplement (HCAS) where appropriate.

No, not as an MSW but there are opportunities for volunteers on the NHS England website.

This is a full-time role but part-time may be possible at the discretion of the employer.

The standard contract will be for a period of 6 months. There may be the possibility of an extension to a maximum of one year.

MSWs must be resident in the UK and have the right to work here to be employed as an MSW. Holders of visitor visas are not eligible to apply

No, this is a service role. However, most MSWs will benefit from working in an active learning environment, including having the opportunity, for example, to attend clinical meetings, tutorials (where relevant) and have Foundation competencies signed off during their tenure as an MSW. For some postholders, experience as a MSW will provide a stepping-stone either to working as a doctor in the UK for the first time or to returning to the medical workforce following a substantial career break.

As a medical support worker or emergency support clinician. They are not working as doctors in this role.

No, the MSW role does not entitle you to GMC registration. However, the GMC has said it would recognise MSW employment as “time in practice” but only as far as it mitigates any breaks in service when applying for registration.

The MSW may be employed in primary, secondary and community care settings and in any specialty area.

They will work in multi-disciplinary teams supporting medical and other clinical staff in acute trusts, GP practices, critical care units or in other secondary or community care settings. They undertake a range of essential routine clinical tasks under supervision.

The MSW may be appointed to a particular specialty team, in which case the employer may seek to employ an MSW with relevant specialty experience, or the role may be more generic and be open to MSWs from any medical background, not requiring specified specialty experience.

Please see the job description and person specification. MSWs may not prescribe or undertake other tasks for which registration is required while working as an MSW.

All MSWs must have a named supervisor, who will be a designated Consultant, General Practitioner or other Senior Medical Practitioner relevant to the work area. The named supervisor must ensure suitable supervision in their absence. Following a local induction programme, the supervisor will ensure a safe level of supervision and support for the MSW for every working session or shift.

No, the MSW is not able to provide on call services but may be part of a duty admitting team in a hospital setting. At all times the MSW must work under supervision and cannot see unselected emergency cases by themselves.

If an MSW gains full GMC registration while in post they can continue in the role for the duration of their contract. It may be possible for them to extend the scope of their work to include other medical duties provided they also have a licence to practise and there is agreement with the Employer and the Clinical Supervisor.


Paid absence to take examinations, such as PLAB, is allowed. Time off for revision is unpaid or taken from your holiday allowance and must be agreed in advance with your clinical team and rota co-ordinator.

HORUS is suggested. HEE have agreed it may be used by MSWs.