ROAN information sheet 6: Guidance for a GP planning to spend time abroad

The golden rule when planning to spend time outside the UK is to plan your re-entry before going. Please contact your responsible officer (usually via your appraisal team) for advice at least three months before you leave. If your plans change while you are away, contact us to discuss.

Before leaving the UK you need to consider your appraisal, position on the national performers list and GMC licence. What you need to do will depend on how long you will be abroad and the work you will be doing.

If you have not worked in the NHS England area for 12+ months without letting us know then your local office may initiate your removal from the performers list. This is a formal process that we try to avoid.

Should I resign from the performers list?

To be on the performers list you need to do enough work to retain your skills and have a satisfactory annual appraisal, each year. The actual amount of work needed will depend on your circumstances, so discuss with your local office. If you plan to work outside the UK for more than a year we usually advise you to contact the Primary Care support team ( to resign from the performers list. This is a simple process and does not need to be declared on a future re-application.

Should I relinquish my GMC licence?

If you keep your licence to practise then you will need to revalidate. This means continuing to gather supporting information and having an annual appraisal. If you are going to be practising entirely outside of the UK for more than a year then it may be simpler to give up your licence to practise whilst abroad. For further information see the current guidance from the GMC.

If we have agreed it in advance, it may be possible to arrange for your appraisal to take place while you are away, either locally where you are or via an internet link to the UK.

Returning to the UK after working abroad

  • Absence less than a year: There are not usually any special re-training arrangements. Sometimes your appraisal or revalidation date may need to be moved.
  • Absence between one and two years: Arrangements will vary according to your circumstances, such as the work you did while abroad. Reinstatement of your GMC licence and your position on the performers list are both usually straightforward, although re-entry to the performers list may temporarily be subject to conditions.
  • Absence more than two years: This requires assessment by the Health Education England induction and refresher scheme, usually by the portfolio route.

This information sheet is relevant primarily to NHS England responsible officers.

Released November 2017.