A clinical (observer) attachment will help you prepare yourself for working in the NHS.
It allows you to gain an overview of medical processes and systems in the NHS, by observing a consultant in a relevant speciality at work.
During the attachment, you are not given any responsibility and are not able to make clinical decisions or give clinical advice.
After a set period observing the consultant, you 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)
- observing surgery
Read GMC guidance on clinical attachments
Is a clinical attachment required for GMC registration and working in the NHS?
It is not a requirement for GMC registration or working in the NHS. However, you may find the experience usefully contributes towards showing that you meet the standards of competence, care and conduct which are expected of doctors. For more detail on standards see the GMC’s Good Medical Practice
The BMJ article A model for clinical attachments to support international medical graduates provides a good overview of the benefits of undertaking a clinical attachment for international medical graduates applying for registration in the UK
Are all clinical attachment programmes the same?
No. Clinical attachment programmes will differ from one hospital to another. Clinical attachments can also be called clinical (observer) attachment programmes,visiting professional programmes and clinical placement programmes.
How much does a clinical attachment programme cost?
The fee for a clinical attachment will vary from one programme to another. Current fees range from £400 upward. Please note you will also be responsible for your own living costs.