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Posted on 6th February 2017

New doctors to face basic skills test

The General Medical Council (GMC) say that thousands of newly qualified doctors are unprepared to do basic tasks, such as taking blood.

All newly qualified doctors and foreign applications must sit a standard test that will be the same for every medical school. 

The GMC want to use Brexit as an opportunity to agree a common standard for foreign doctors to practice in Britain.

There are currently 34 medical schools in Britain and each set their own criteria for licensing doctors. The GMC was this is unfair and want to standardise the process.

Terence Stephenson, chairman of the GMC, told The Times that there was an “inherent unfairness” in the system. “If the public said to us, ‘Are you sure that all the doctors starting practice in Britain are meeting a common standard?’, we’d say we don’t know.

“We’ve got 34 different standards in the UK and we’ve got our own standard for people from Australia, Canada, Nigeria . . . and nothing for people from the EU,” he said.

Currently medics from the EU do not undergo any tests to practice in the UK if they have qualified in their home country.

The plans from the consultation say that medical schools need to come up with a common set of questions that can be used across the country. 

Professor Stephenson said that he hoped the medical licensing assessment will be in place in five years. 

He continued to say that practical clinical skills were not taught well enough at some universities, with almost half of new doctors from some of the schools saying they did not feel skilled enough to prescribe drugs.

Surveys by the GMC show that third of the 7,500 new doctors that graduate each year felt they were not adequately prepared to care for patients.

A spokesperson for the Medical Schools Council told The Times: “Of paramount importance is that patients are confident in the robustness of the new assessment. It is also essential that medical schools are confident that it does not add overly to the expense and burden of assessment.”

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association was disappointed that regulations had taken so long

“We have heard from doctors who are anxious and nervous because they don’t feel trained. It’s very worrying,” she said.

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Tags: Doctors