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GPs go forth

GMC firms up plans for single exam for UK doctors licence

The GMC has approved plans to develop a single test that all doctors must pass in order to practise in the UK.

The new test - to be given the ‘working title’ of the UK Medical Licensing Assessment (UKMLA) - would replace the current Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test that currently only international medical graduates take.

GMC chair Professor Terence Stephenson said: ‘These are early days but the Council has decided that we should develop a licensing assessment which creates a straightforward and transparent route to medical practice in the UK.’

Professor Stephenson added that the GMC wanted to ‘not only make sure that UK-trained graduates meet the required standards but that all doctors practising here have been examined and evaluated to the same high level’ and that ‘it would be fairer and more reassuring for the public for there to be a standard for entry to the register that everyone can rely on’.

The GMC said it will now start a ‘second phase’ of work to develop the UKMLA, and will carry out a full public consultation before it is introduced.

The plans for a single exam were first mooted back in September last year, but met with criticism from the GPC which said it would be ‘ridiculous’ to make newly qualified UK doctors sit yet another exam.

The GMC has in the meantime moved to make the PLAB ‘more robust’ after concerns about the disparity in pass rates for post-graduate exams between international and medical graduates.

Readers' comments (16)

  • How long before this is extended (at the cost to the doctor, of course) to revalidaiton every 5 years. You can't be too careful so let's test test test.

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  • Surely the obvious solution is to make this part of the final year exam at medical school. It would be the same as a levels with different schools free to teach as they like but with a core curriculum in place to make sure all subjects are covered.

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  • More power and money for the ever-growing GMC.

    I wonder what the medical school academics think about this

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  • Wonder if even more regulation of the most heavily regulated medical profession in the world will further increase shortages, early retirement, emigration....

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  • ..... All doctors except EU graduates! Penalises UK graduates and stinks of a money making power trip.

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  • @ 6.33pm

    This is a graduate tax on doctors for life.

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  • Good way of making money
    More exams
    GMC wants to join RCGP in making money.

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  • So now we know where the Stasi vanished to when the Wall came down.

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  • Would be interesting if Scotland with all its new powers decided to ditch the GMC in favour of a fit and proper judicial route.

    The latest NHS scandal to hit involves two surgeons being suspended after raising concerns in Scotland. "Independent reports' sighted as a reason to suspend them by the trust have all been blacked out. And doctors who raise concerns are being referred to the GMC.

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  • I'm guessing that this is the same exam that the gmc wanted me to take that wasn't written yet (and they didn't know the content), wasn't costed (but I had to pay for) and they could tell me to sit any time, when I was between jobs following a move and thus not under any responsible officer. Thus the gmc would only revalidate me if I sat their exam. I'm a Consultant Psychiatrist. God knows if the exam would have been relevant or appropriate. If I hadn't got another post I would not have gone through the GMC hoops but would have left medicine entirely. What with everything else going to pot with the 'profession' this would have been the last straw.

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