How to become a MCA approved doctor

Find out about MCA's recruitment process for approved doctors (ADs).


This guidance for doctors takes you through:

  • MCA’s general criteria for ADs
  • types of AD
  • how to apply for appointment as an AD

MCA’s recruitment system has been established in agreement with maritime employers and seafarer’s trade union organisations.

It aims to serve the seafarers working on UK vessels, and holding UK Certificates of Competency (CoCs).

MCA is recruiting for ADs in

  • Edinburgh – closing date 8 April 2018

  • Orkney area - ongoing

  • Southampton – closing date 23 April 2018

Criteria for appointment as an AD

The appointment of Approved Doctors to carry out ENG1 seafarer medical examinations is restricted to areas where a demand for at least 50 examinations in a year has been demonstrated.

The most suitable candidate is appointed based on qualifications, experience and location.

The full recruitment procedure is detailed in ‘chapter 2 - the role of an approved doctor’, in MCA’s approved doctor’s manual.

The three categories of ADs

General list doctors are:

  • available to all seafarers
  • spread over a wide geographical network
  • mainly appointed on a replacement basis

Vacancies are advertised locally using the local CCG; MCA keeps a file on those who have expressed an interest in becoming an AD. You’ll then be invited to apply to make sure of fair and open competition.

All the applications are reviewed by MCA’s chief medical adviser.

Company doctors are:

  • appointed at the request of companies with vessels on the UK flag, subject to the MCA chief medical adviser’s scrutiny of qualifications and experience
  • only able to do medicals on those employed by the shipping company
  • usually contractors to major shipping companies, or providing services to a ship management or crewing company
  • expected to provide a full occupational medical service for the shipping company

Healthcare providers:

  • are companies who provide services to several employers, ship management or crewing companies
  • may ask, once approved, that named doctors are appointed (subject to MCA chief medical adviser scrutiny)
  • may take on additional client companies, but must tell MCA about the companies they have contracts with
  • are only approved to examine the staff of companies they are contracted with
  • must meet MCA’s requirements for being accountable and honest

Apply to become an approved doctor

Download the application form to become an approved doctor, then send your completed application to the address on the form.

Speculative applications (meaning those not part of a recruitment process started by MCA) will be kept on file until a specific vacancy comes up.

The chief medical adviser will review your application, then it’ll be acknowledged by the medical administration team.

Further information

Published 6 May 2014
Last updated 3 April 2018 + show all updates
  1. Updated approved doctors recruitment, Southampton – closing date 23 April 2018
  2. Updated to notify of recruitment taking place in Edinburgh – closing date 8 April 2018
  3. Updated AD recruitment section
  4. Updated recruitment; South Coast Devon – closing date 8 December 2017
  5. Recruitment update; Anglesey, Bangor and Holyhead area – closing date 27 October 2017
  6. Updated recruitment: Whitby - closing date 6 October 2017
  7. Updated Recruiting in Middlesbrough area – closing date 15th September 2017
  8. Updated - recruiting in Liverpool, Wirral and Chester area – closing date 6 September 2017
  9. Recruiting update; Portsmouth/Southsea area - closing date 21 July 2017
  10. Recruitment update; Horley Gatwick area - Closing Date 10 July 2017
  11. Updated recruitment; Peterhead, Fraserburgh, Banff and surrounding areas – closing date 21June 2017
  12. Updated recruiting in Aberdeen area - closing date 2 June 2017
  13. Updated recruiting Northern Ireland, Kilkeel and surrounding areas – Closing date 2 June 2017
  14. Updated recruiting Southampton and Surrounding Areas – Closing date 2 June 2017
  15. MCA is recruiting for ADs in St Austell Area - Closing Date 20 January 2017. Immingham vacancy is now closed.
  16. Update recruiting - Immingham Area - Closing Date 15 December 2016
  17. Updated - Bristol area recruitment closed
  18. Doctors vacancy removed
  19. New Approved Doctor vacancy - Bristol area
  20. Added Dartmouth area to current vacancies
  21. Update - recruitment closed in London area.
  22. Update - recruitment closed in Manchester area.
  23. Updated - Southampton area recruitment closed.
  24. Oban and Lancaster/Morecambe trawls removed
  25. Closing date for London updated
  26. New Approved Doctor recruitment area added, Manchester
  27. Update to recruitment areas:; Southampton Area
  28. Closing date for Oban updated
  29. Update to recruitment areas; Lancaster/ Morecambe Area - Closing Date 27 May 2016
  30. New date for recruitment in Orkney
  31. Added details of the vacancy in the Lowestoft area.
  32. Update MCA now recruiting in Glasgow Area - Closing Date 4 March 2016
  33. Updated; No recruitment campaigns at this time.
  34. Updated recruitment; Portsmouth/Southsea Area - Closing Date 27th October 2015
  35. Updated Recruitment: Mallorca to close 8th Nov 2015
  36. Update: Recruitment in Liverpool Area - Closing Date 26th October 2015
  37. No current recruitment campaigns
  38. Holly Head campaign closed 21 August 2015
  39. Trawls at Edinburgh & Grangemouth; and Ipswich now closed.
  40. Update recruitment; London - Closing Date 12 September 2015
  41. Update recruitment of approved doctors; Holyhead - Closing Date 21 August 20152015
  42. Update recruitment; Aberdeen - Closing Date 12 September 2015
  43. Updated MCA approved doctors recruitment - Ipswich - Closing Date 10 August 2015
  44. Updated to include recruitment in Edinburgh and Grangemouth Area
  45. Updated MSN 1822 replaced by MSN 1839
  46. MCA is not currently recruiting approved doctors.
  47. Update Plymouth - Closing Date 15th April 2015 with additional information; Letter to Plymouth Practicitioners 20.03.2015
  48. Updated recruitment; Isle of Wight - Closing Date 31 March 2015
  49. Updated MCA recruitment areas; Liverpool - Closing Date 31 March 2015
  50. Updated Recruiting: Pembrokeshire - Closing Date 6 March 2015
  51. Updated: Currently recruiting approved doctors in Great Yarmouth - Closing Date 6 March 2015
  52. Colchester vacancy date extended 16 12 14
  53. Recruitment campaign for Shetland added 10th December 2014. Two closed campaigns removed.
  54. AD vacancies updated 25 11 14
  55. AD vacancies updated (24 11 14)
  56. AD vacancies updated 12 11 14
  57. AD vacancies updated (16 10 14)
  58. AD vacancies updated (22 09 14)
  59. Update to vacancies (17 09 14)
  60. Updated with AD vacancy details (30/07/14)
  61. Deatils of new AD vacancies added
  62. MCA AD vacancies updated 26 06 14
  63. First published.