Working with doctors Working for patients

Medical Licensing Assessment consultation

How do I take part?

We are asking 19 questions on the proposed Medical Licensing Assessment.

You can take part in the consultation by:

  • completing the online questionnaire on our consultation website or
  • filling in your comments on the consultation document (pdf) and clicking on the 'submit form' button on the pdf once finished to email your completed response to us. Please note that if you are using Google Chrome, Safari or a mobile phone/tablet you will need to save the completed pdf to your desktop or device, attach it to an email and send to

What’s it about?

We’re consulting on plans to establish a UK-wide Medical Licensing Assessment (MLA). This would create a single, objective demonstration that those who obtain registration with a licence to practise medicine in the UK can meet a common threshold for safe practice.

There are currently three main routes to practice in the UK with differences in the standards required:

  • Students passing finals at UK medical schools – While we regulate medical schools and lay down the outcomes that graduates must meet, there is no UK-wide curriculum or assessment process and final exams (finals) vary substantially between the established medical schools.
  • International medical graduates – Many international medical graduates, holding primary medical qualifications obtained outside Europe, gain registration by taking our Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test. Others use other ways to register which do not involve passing the PLAB test, primarily by holding a postgraduate qualification that we accept or through sponsorship by an organisation that we recognise for this purpose.
  • EEA graduates – EEA graduates are currently entitled to have their qualifications recognised here without any test of their competence due to European law.

The MLA would give assurance to patients, employers, medical schools, medical students and overseas graduates that doctors, wherever they’ve qualified, have met the same threshold for safe practice.

We have shaped our proposals for consultation by working collaboratively with key partners from across the UK, including all 32 medical schools, medical students, the Medical Schools Council and assessment experts.

Before we develop our plans further, we need to answer a series of fundamental questions about the assessment and we would now like your views on our proposals.

The consultation runs from 31 January 2017 to 30 April 2017.

What happens next?

We will consider all the responses to the consultation and prepare a report on our findings. This report will be considered by our Council along with recommendations on the way ahead.

Subject to Council’s view and the outcome of this consultation, we envisage developing detailed plans with experts and our key partners. We would then pilot extensively with a view to implementing the MLA fully in 2022.

Welsh version

A Welsh version of this page is available.

There is also a Welsh version of the consultation document (pdf).

Further information

Our MLA webpage has more background on the development of our proposals. Please email us at if you need any further information relating to this consultation.