'Suspend PLAB tests' plea
Dr Prasad Rao, chair of the British International Doctors Association, is calling on the GMC to suspend its professional and linguistic assessment board (PLAB) tests.
Dr Rao, a GP in Stoke-on-Trent, said the move was needed to curb the number of doctors from overseas travelling to the UK in the hope of getting a job in the NHS.
The number of overseas doctors who passed the Plab test has risen from 1,000 in 1998 to 7,500 in 2004. Thousands of foreign doctors particularly from Africa and the Indian sub-continent are living in poverty in the UK because they cannot get hospital jobs or GP training places.
Completing the two-part Plab test costs £575 and the expense comes on top of visas, training and other living costs.
Dr Rao said the situation was unacceptable: 'Make these exams less frequent. Do not abolish them but suspend exams for a while and take stock,' he added.
The GMC said numbers taking part one of the Plab test had fallen. A spokeswoman said it had no intention of rationing or suspending tests.