Since 1 January 1997 it has been a legal requirement that, in order to take up a consultant post (other than a locum consultant appointment) in a medical or surgical specialty in the UK health service a doctor must be included in the Specialist Register.
The only exceptions are doctors who held a consultant post (other than a locum consultant post) in oral and maxillo-facial surgery in the UK health service immediately before 1 January 1997.
Although not a legal requirement, generally speaking, doctors wishing to work unsupervised in private practice in the UK will also need to hold specialist registration.
This is because the major private health providers and insurance companies only recognise doctors whose names are included in the Specialist Register.
The Specialist Register is maintained by the GMC. Individual recommendations for inclusion in the Specialist Register are submitted to the GMC following the College evaluation.
The GMC supervises (approves) specialist training in the UK and doctors who complete their specialist training in this country are awarded a Certificate of Completion of Training or a CCT.