Overseas doctors have long played crucial roles in the UK health services, with the number of foreign doctors joining the UK medical register increasing year on year. All foreign doctors wanting to practice medicine in the UK, whether a permanent or temporary move, need to register with the UK General Medical Council (GMC).
First things first, any international medical graduates wanting to apply for provisional or full registration with a license to practice medicine in the UK, need to have their primary medical qualification independently verified. This need for verification applies to graduates who fit into either of the following two categories:
- If you qualified at a medical school outside of the UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland or
- If you are a national of a country outside the UK, EEA or Switzerland and qualified at a medical school outside the UK.
Before you begin the verification process, it’s recommended that you create a GMC online account which will allow you to check if your primary medical qualification or postgraduate qualification is accepted in the UK. Once you have established that your qualifications are accepted in the UK, you will need to send them on to the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) for independent verification. ECFMG is a US based NPO with more than 30 years experience in primary source verification. EPIC (Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials) is the ECFMG’s online verification portal. The EPIC website gives clear instructions regarding how to use EPIC. Once you have created your EPIC account, you can upload the qualifications you want verified. During this step, don’t forget to select the GMC as the recipient of the EPIC report on your qualification verification outcome. ECFMG charges a fee in USD for their service. More information regarding fees is available on the EPIC website.
The next step is to establish whether you are required to write the Professional and Linguistics Assessments Board (PLAB) test which is a two part exam. The first part is a MCQ knowledge based exam and the second part a clinical assessment or OSCE. When your qualification has been successfully verified, you can book, using your GMC online account for PLAB Part 1 (PLAB 1). PLAB 1 can be taken at designated testing centres in the UK or a number of countries outside the UK. After passing Part 1, you can then apply for Part 2 of the PLAB test. PLAB 2 is an OSCE and takes place at the GMC training centre in Manchester in the UK. Once you have passed both parts of the PLAB test, you can apply to the GMC for registration with a license to practice medicine. As soon as this application is successful, you may start working in the UK. Please visit www.gmc-uk.org for more details.