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02.08.19

GMC opens new £2.5m Manchester test centre for overseas doctors

The General Medical Council (GMC) is set to welcome the first overseas doctors to its new £2.5m test centre in Manchester, where they will take part in a rigorous half-day assessment of their practical skills.

Seventy-two doctors – who have qualified in countries as diverse as Libya, Ukraine and the Philippines – are set to undergo the assessment at the new Spinningfields test centre, prior to working in the UK.

The new facility comprises of two practical skills circuits, featuring scenarios to test doctors to make sure they are competent and able to treat patients safely.

Each circuit caters for up to 18 candidates at a time – double the number that could be tested at the previous GMC test facility.

By the end of August, GMC expects to have performed assessments for more than 1,000 doctors at the new centre.

READ MORE: GMC unveils new standards for more ‘flexible’ postgraduate education

READ MORE: BMA backs GMC commitment to reduce burden of revalidation on doctors

Jane Durkin, assistant director of registration at the GMC, said: “Doctors from overseas make an important and valuable contribution to UK health services. This new centre is part of our commitment to support them through our registration process in their quest to practise medicine in the UK.

“But it is also vital that doctors coming to work in the UK meet the high standards we require and that patients rightly expect. This is a series of robust and rigorous tests that assess doctors’ clinical skills.”

Most doctors who qualify outside the European Economic Area must pass two exams, called the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB), before they can apply for registration and a license to practice medicine in the UK.

PLAB 1 is a written multiple-choice exam, with 180 questions, which can be taken at locations around the world. PLAB 2 is a practical clinical exam held in Manchester.

Ms Durkin added: “Recruiting enough doctors, with the right skills, is vital for health services in all four UK countries. It is important that we provide a route for those doctors who want to work here to do so.

“Our new assessment centre, and the changes we are making to increase the availability of the tests, will help the UK get the doctors it needs and who can provide high quality care to patients.”

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