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GMC to launch new uniform test for UK and international graduates

THE GMC is starting work with medical schools on an assessment scheme to give greater consistency to standards for doctors who want to work in the UK.

The two-part Medical Licensing Assessment (MLA) is designed to increase uniformity in the ways doctors enter practice in the UK.

The change means that UK medical students and international medical graduates (IMGs) will take the same applied knowledge test.

Students in the UK will start taking the assessment as part of the MLA from 2022. Medical schools in the UK and the GMC will continue running their own practical assessments of graduates’ clinical and professional skills.

However, the GMC will bring in new standards and performance measures so the practical assessments are more consistent.

It is also considering a single assessment for UK students and their IMG counterparts.

Each of the 32 UK medical schools currently has its own system, although they use outcomes set by the GMC and share some written questions. There is no common standard to pass in the UK.

There are several entry routes for international graduates, while doctors from EU countries do not have to sit a competence test to gain a UK licence to practice.

GMC chair Professor Terence Stephenson said the new model ‘will give better assurance to patients and employers’.

‘We are not ruling out moving to a single assessment of clinical and professional skills at some point in the future,’ he said.

The GMC will also develop its approach for doctors from the EU once there is greater clarity about Brexit.

Professor Stephenson said: ‘It remains our ambition that the system of entry into UK practice should be consistent and fair for every doctor – whether they qualified in the UK, from Europe or beyond.’