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First Candidates Take New GMC Overseas Doctor Test

The General Medical Council (GMC) has announced that the new rules to strengthen the PLAB (Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board) test for overseas doctors who want to practice medicine in the UK is now in effect.  

According to the GMC, at the beginning of September 2016, the first candidates have taken the newly re-vamped and strengthened PLAB test. The test includes more simulated clinical tests which reflect real life consultations. 

In march 2016; the GMC has announced its plan to make the PLAB test harder for overseas doctors looking to practice medicine in the UK. The decision is made after an independent review of the assessment commissioned by the GMC. The review was published in 2014, which found that PLAB graduates had poorer clinical skills and knowledge than UK graduates on average.  

For International Medical Graduates (IMGs), the PLAB test is the main route to practise medicine in the UK. The new PLAB test includes: 

  • Broader Knowledge based written test with more detailed feedback for the candidates on their performance. 
  • Practical questions and scenarios that will evaluate a candidate’s skills and understanding of ethics as well as their clinical skills. 
  • Four attempts limit for candidates to pass both written and practical test. 
  • A two-year limit to apply for a licence after passing the test. 

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said that the newly re-vamped PLAB test will help to ensure whether the overseas doctors are reaching the high standards required to practise medicine safely in the UK. The changes in the test will give confidence to patients that overseas doctors are capable of delivering high standards of compassionate and skilful care and treatment.   

He also said that the contribution made by overseas doctors is precious to healthcare throughout the UK and the new changes will provide extra assurance because overseas doctors must pass a stringent assessment in order to practice medicine in the UK. 

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