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Work begins on a new Medical Licensing Assessment

We have approved the initial model for a two-part Medical Licensing Assessment that will provide more consistency in the ways doctors enter UK practice.

UK medical students and international medical graduates will take the same test of applied knowledge. We will continue to deliver practical assessments of clinical and professional skills to these groups of doctors alongside UK medical schools.

"The model that we have now agreed is pragmatic yet still progressive, building on the achievements made by medical schools in recent years but pushing for greater consistency in the standards of their assessments."

Professor Terence Stephenson

GMC Chair

We will, however, introduce new standards and performance measures to drive consistency in the way these practical assessments are run, before we explore whether to bring in a single assessment for UK students and international medical graduates in the future. 

Medical students from the UK will begin taking the knowledge assessment as part of the Medical Licensing Assessment from 2022.

Progressive approach will deliver consistency

Professor Terence Stephenson, the Chair of the GMC, said:

‘We have listened extremely carefully to the advice given to us by our partners and stakeholders in each country of the UK. While many support the aim of the Medical Licensing Assessment, there were some concerns about the original model we proposed – in particular the impact which it could have had on medical students and the supply of doctors into the UK.

‘The model that we have now agreed is pragmatic yet still progressive, building on the achievements made by medical schools in recent years but pushing for greater consistency in the standards of their assessments. This will give better assurance to patients and employers.’

Professor Jenny Higham, Chair of the Medical Schools Council, said: 

‘We share the GMC’s goal of designing high quality assessments that are fair to students and provide assurance to the public about the standard of doctors entering the medical register in the UK.’

Royal College of Physicians president Jane Dacre said:

‘The approval of the Medical Licensing Assessment by the GMC is positive news for the profession. The Medical Licensing Assessment’s introduction should ensure that doctors entering the NHS are safe and fit to practise through the demonstration of core knowledge, clinical skills and professionalism.’