Clinical Attachments in the UK

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What is a Clinical Attachment?

Clinical attachments are observerships or electives for medical students and doctors. Clinical attachments help you prepare for working in the UK.


What Happens in a Clinical Attachment?

During the attachment, you are not given any responsibility; you are not able to make clinical decisions or give clinical advice.

After a period of observing the consultant, you might be given certain responsibilities, including the following:

  • observing consultations
  • history taking
  • physical examinations (under direct supervision)
  • directly observing surgery


Cost of Clinical Attachments

Attachments can be for free or you might have to pay a fee. This can vary depending on each hospital and consultant.

Cost of attachment £0 – £500
Visa fee £93
Return ticket £400 – £700
Accommodation £100- £150 per week
Food £7 – £10 per day
Groceries £100 – £200 per month
Unseen expenditures £0 – £500
Total £1,500 – £3,000
The average length of an attachment is 4 weeks.
Click here to discover an estimated breakdown of the total cost.


Pros of Clinical Attachments in the UK

  • Exposure to the NHS.
  • Exposure to the UK culture.
  • It will later help when you apply for PLAB visa.
  • Building contacts for finding a job in the UK.
  • Building confidence for your first job in the UK.


Cons of Clinical Attachments in the UK

  • Attachments can be costly (because of travelling and living expenses)
  • Attachments will not make a big difference while applying for jobs.
  • Attachments do not add much weight to the CV.


Links for Clinical Attachment Programmes


Other Useful Links


Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will it help me in finding a job in the UK if I go for a clinical attachment?

If you take your attachment after your PLAB 2, it might be possible for you to ask your consultant to hire you at the same hospital as soon as you get your GMC registration. However, everyone finds a job in the UK since there are more jobs and fewer doctors. Therefore, please do not feel the pressure to go for a clinical attachment.

2. Should I go for a clinical attachment?

This is a completely personal choice. Going through the pros and cons mentioned above might help you in making your decision.

3. Will I lose anything if I do not go for a clinical attachment?

No, you will not. Everyone finds a job in the UK. Most of my colleagues working in the UK have not had any attachment experience.

4. What is the ideal time to have a clinical attachment?

After you take PLAB 2, you will be in the UK for a few weeks or months with nothing to do. Getting an attachment might be ideal during this time.

5. Is it possible to have a clinical attachment after graduating from medical school?


6. How do I apply for a clinical attachment?

There are two ways of applying for an attachment:

  1. By applying through official websites (check the links above).
  2. By contacting the consultants directly and requesting them.

Pakistanis can contact consultants in the UK via APPNE, UK on their Facebook group. Others will have to check Google and different Facebook groups to reach consultants. You should also check Dr. Omar Alam’s guideline for this.

7. How will I know the cost of my clinical attachment?

As mentioned above, a clinical attachment can have a fee or can be for free. This can vary depending on each hospital and consultant. You should check this with your hospital or consultant while applying for the attachment.

8. What is the average length of a clinical attachment?

4 weeks.

15 thoughts on “Clinical Attachments in the UK

  1. Hi Naseer. Thank you for all you do. Where can I get a free clinical observership in the UK please?

  2. I’m on tier 2 dependent visa and have full GMC registration.It’s been 2 month I’ve applied for more than 50 jobs but I haven’t got any response yet.Will it be a good idea to apply for a clinical attachment? Maybe it’ll improve my CV

    1. I applied for 181 jobs and heard back from 21 Trusts. I would advise you to apply for more. It takes 4 weeks or more for the responses to start arriving.

  3. is it practically possible to study for plab 2(after taking the online course) during the month of clinical attachment?

    1. 1. Online course is not ideal for PLAB 2.

      2. It is not ideal to study for PLAB 2 with a clinical attachment.

  4. Can I apply for a clinical attachment as soon as graduate from medical University ?

  5. Do clinical attachments count towards the 18 months of experience in the specialty while applying for specialty recruitment?

  6. Do i need to pass PLAB part 1 for clinical attachment? Can i not directly apply for it after i am done with IELTS?

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