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GMC Council approves development of UK medical licensing assessment (UKMLA)

The GMC Council has approved a plan to work with partners to develop a unified assessment for every doctor seeking to practise in the UK.

Over time we are confident that the UKMLA will help to drive up standards and that it could become an international benchmark test for entry to medicine.

Professor Terence Stephenson the Chair of the General Medical Council

It has been given a working title of the United Kingdom Medical Licensing Assessment (UKMLA). The new assessment would replace the current Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board test (PLAB) which is now taken by International Medical Graduates (IMGs).

Professor Terence Stephenson the Chair of the General Medical Council, 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.

‘Medicine is an increasingly mobile profession and we must have systems in place which 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.

‘We believe 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. Over time we are confident that the UKMLA will help to drive up standards and that it could become an international benchmark test for entry to medicine.

‘Our aspiration is that this assessment should apply to any doctor joining the medical register.

‘We do not want to create a one-size-fits-all system of undergraduate education – the diversity of our current medical schools can and should be cherished – but we do think all those becoming doctors in the UK should have demonstrated that they have the skills and competence to practise here and have all passed the same assessment before being admitted to the register with a licence to practise.

‘There is much to discuss and we are conscious that there is an enormous amount of detail still to be worked up. But we are determined to work with our partners to find a way forward that is both workable and puts patient confidence and safety first.

‘We will now begin a second phase of work, engaging extensively with partners and groups affected, and with a range of expert advisers to help us identify the format, timing and content of the UKMLA.’

A full public consultation will take place before the UKMLA is introduced.

 

  1.  The provisional timeline of scheduled work on the UKMLA is as follows:
  • 2015/16 choosing UKMLA model
  • 2016/17 development of the UKMLA model
  • 2018 testing and low level piloting of the UKMLA
  • 2019 UKMLA goes live for IMGs
  • 2019/20 UK graduate testing of the UKMLA
  • 2021 UKMLA goes live for UK graduates

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