Clinical attachments are primarily used by international medical graduates who have been practising abroad and are coming to work in the UK for the first time. Sometimes, a doctor who is suspended or who has undertakings or conditions on their registration may participate in a clinical attachment to help maintain their skills and knowledge whilst they are suspended from the register, or as part of a return to work plan.

A clinical attachment allows an international medical graduate to gain an overview of medical processes and systems in the UK, specifically in the NHS, by observing a consultant in a relevant speciality at work. During the attachment, the doctor is not given any responsibility and is not able to make clinical decisions or give clinical advice. After a set period observing the consultant, the graduate may start to take on some limited clinical duties. This will be following a risk assessment, and at the discretion of and under the overall supervision of the supervising consultant.

Duties are generally limited to:

  • observing consultations

  • participating in patient administration (clerking)

  • taking patient histories

  • Physical examinations (under direct supervision)

  • Directly observing surgery

The GMC would expect to receive notice of the planned clinical attachment, including the dates and location of the attachment, the name and contact details of the supervisor and confirmation of the limits set on the doctor’s activity. The GMC will seek regular feedback from the supervisor, including confirmation of the tasks the doctor has undertaken.

(General Medical Council . (2018). Guidance on clinical attachments) 

If you would like to offer a placement for a clinical attachment, complete the attached placement availability form.

If you have received a request for a clinical attachment and a placement availability form has been completed, please go to the application page for clinical attachment. 

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