What is the General Medical Council?
We protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the public by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine. This means we make sure that doctors have the right knowledge, skills and experience to practise medicine safely in the UK.
Fostering good medical practice
We do this by producing ethical guidance that sets out the principles you should follow in your work – the duties of a doctor. Good medical practice is our core guidance, but we also give advice on issues such as reporting gunshot and knife wounds, personal beliefs and medical practice, appropriate use of social media and obtaining consent to treatment from children.
Promoting high standards of medical education and training
We set the standards for the education that medical schools provide.
We also set the knowledge, skills and behaviour that you must demonstrate by the time you graduate. You may want to have a look to see the types of things you will be able to do when you finish medical school, including the practical procedures you will be able to carry out.
Last year we reviewed these outcomes and we published an updated set in June. Your medical school has until summer 2020 to make sure its curriculum meets the new outcomes. Many of the updated outcomes build on the existing excellent practice of medical schools across the UK, so your school may already be covering the new material.
Keeping up-to-date registers of qualified doctors
We control access to the medical register. You will need to register with us and obtain a licence to practise before you are able to begin work as a doctor. We will only register those doctors who meet our standards, so it is important that you understand how your behaviour, even now as a student, is expected to reflect these.
Dealing firmly and fairly with fitness to practise concerns
We have strong and effective legal powers designed to maintain the standards the public have a right to expect of doctors. We take firm but fair action where those standards have not been met. Where any doctor fails to meet those standards, we act to protect patients from harm – if necessary, by removing or suspending a doctor from the medical register or placing restrictions on their practice.
The Medical Licensing Assessment (MLA)
We're developing a new assessment that all medical students from the UK and some doctors from outside the EU will need to sit and pass. Depending on the outcome of Brexit - something that's outside our control - we may be able to ask European doctors to sit the test too.
The number of medical students is increasing. New medical schools are being set up and the number of doctors from overseas is increasing. Recognising this, we want doctors who wish to work in the UK to demonstrate they meet a common threshold for safe practice before we grant a licence to practise.
The MLA will build on the current excellence of UK medical education and our own existing assessments of overseas doctors with the aim of offering patients, the public and the wider healthcare system increased confidence in the consistency and standard of care provided by doctors.
We are still working on the details of the MLA. It will have two elements: a test of applied knowledge (AKT) and a test of clinical and professional skills. We will share more information with you when we can. To manage the number of assessments you are expected to do, we are planning for your medical school's clinical and professional skills assessments to count as the second part, provided it meets our standards.
We are also working with medical school representatives to develop the AKT in a way that means it could replace some or all of the existing range of knowledge tests.