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.