All graduate doctors from St. George’s University are from this month automatically eligible to apply for General Medical Council (GMC) registration, following the regulatory body’s decision to remove the medical school from their case-by-case list.
The move recognizes the quality of SGU’s graduates and teaching standards, and paves the way for SGU graduates to study and work in the UK following successful registration and completion of prerequisite exams.
Following a review of the university’s primary medical qualifications, the Council agreed that graduates from St. George’s University are now able to apply to sit the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test and GMC registration in the UK, without having their qualification individually assessed. Applicants had previously been approved on a case-by-case basis.
The PLAB test is the main route by which international medical graduates demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to practice medicine in the UK.
Rodney Croft, Dean of Clinical Studies UK, explained the significance of the move. “That the GMC will now recognize the SGU MD degree without an individual examination of each qualification is a major step forward and will encourage more SGU graduates to come to practice in the UK. This is one of a number of recent positive changes to come from the GMC, including the revocation of the ‘50% rule.’ ”
For many years, SGU’s medical graduates were assessed on a case-by-case basis with the Case Registration Advisor at the GMC having a wide latitude for determining the parameters of the “50% rule.” Some were in jeopardy of being registered with the GMC if they joined an international selective, thereby having two more weeks on their transcript “away from the country awarding the diploma” and therefore putting them on the wrong side of the “50% rule.”
The students in SGU’s Keith B. Taylor Global Scholars Program were particularly adversely affected by this rule since they spend the first year of their basic science program in the UK. As SGU’s clinical program takes place mainly in the US and the UK, students at the KBTGSP would not be able to be registered with the GMC, unless they returned to Grenada to do their final-year elective program. Now such students can benefit from doing their fourth-year attachments in the US and/or the UK.
“Another problem for our students has been the timing of the PLAB exams, which have meant our graduates have had to wait up to 18 months following graduation without a salary before beginning their first foundation year in UK hospitals,” Mr. Croft added. “In the near future, PLAB is being replaced with the Medical Licensing Assessment, which will be held more frequently throughout the year.
“It is hoped that, when taken together, these measures will help address the serious shortage of doctors in the UK, particularly in general practice, psychiatry, and emergency medicine.”
Dr. G. Richard Olds, President of St. George’s University, said, “Our students receive a world-class medical education and are able to take advantage of facilities in the UK, Grenada, Canada, and the USA as part of their formal training. As a result, our graduates benefit from a truly globalized training program, making them ideal candidates to work in healthcare systems with a diversity of patients, like the NHS.
“I am pleased that this has been recognized by the General Medical Council in the UK, and look forward to more doctors from SGU taking advantage of the rewarding career opportunities offered in the UK.”