General Medical Council Lists Questionable
UK-Based Foreign Medical Colleges

Stephen Barrett, M.D.

To practice medicine in the United Kingdom, it is necessary to register with the General Medical Council. Registration is available at different levels, depending on the stage of medical training the applicant has reached and where the applicant qualified. Graduates of medical schools in the UK or from certain European Economic Area member states can apply for provisional registration. Those who have completed a year of clinical training or who hold a primary medical qualification in compliance with European Medical Directive 93/16/EE can apply for full registration. International medical graduates (IMGs) can apply for limited registration. Those who have completed specialist training can apply for specialist registration.

The United Kingdom has 24 recognized medical schools. It also has some nonrecognized foreign schools that offer courses primarily or exclusively in England, award their degrees in the country where the school is headquartered, and falsely claim that their course of study leads to a Primary Medical Qualification. However, such graduates are not eligible for registration or for the Professional Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) test, which is the main route by which IMGs demonstrate that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to practice medicine in the United Kingdom. In 2006, the GMC released a list of these nonrecognized schools. Because the list may not be complete, the GMC accepts no liability for any action or decision based on it.

Graduates of these schools are also ineligible for licensure in the United States.

This page was posted on April 17, 2005.

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