GMC to create temporary test centre to assess thousands of doctors

An additional COVID-19 secure temporary centre to test the skills of thousands of overseas doctors wanting to work in the UK will be created by the General Medical Council (GMC).

The investment will see office space at the regulator’s central Manchester headquarters converted to allow more doctors to demonstrate the clinical skills required to secure GMC registration.

The GMC opened a state-of-the-art clinical assessment centre in Spinningfields, Manchester, in August last year. It has capacity to test around 11,000 doctors each year, but social distancing measures have reduced that by more than half.

In addition, the centre had to close completely for four months due to the pandemic. The investment, which will create more than 20 operational jobs, will bring capacity back to its pre-pandemic levels, allowing more doctors to take the practical skills test and, if they pass, to gain registration to work in the UK.

It will utilise space at the GMC’s offices at 3 Hardman Street, in Spinningfields, that is currently not being used by staff who are instead working from home. 

"The need for the valuable skills and experience that overseas doctors provide cannot be overestimated."

Charlie Massey

Chief Executive of the GMC

Charlie Massey, Chief Executive of the GMC, said: ‘The need for the valuable skills and experience that overseas doctors provide cannot be overestimated.

At present we cannot safely increase the capacity of our existing assessment centre due to social distancing, but we need to support the demand of the NHS during these extraordinary times, while also supporting the desire of overseas doctors to practise in the UK

Creating a temporary centre at our existing office is the most time and cost-efficient option that will allow us to continue to assess whether those doctors wanting to work here can meet the high standards we require and that patients expect.

The exams are continuing to operate under strict safety measures during the lockdown. 

The temporary centre is due to open in spring 2021.