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Concept: General Medical Council


In the United Kingdom (UK), medical schools are free to develop local systems and policies that govern student assessment and progression. Successful completion of an undergraduate medical degree results in the automatic award of a provisional licence to practice medicine by the General Medical Council (GMC). Such a licensing process relies heavily on the assumption that individual schools develop similarly rigorous assessment policies. Little work has evaluated variability of undergraduate medical assessment between medical schools. That absence is important in the light of the GMC’s recent announcement of the introduction of the UKMLA (UK Medical Licensing Assessment) for all doctors who wish to practise in the UK. The present study aimed to quantify and compare the volume, type and intensity of summative assessment across medicine (A100) courses in the United Kingdom, and to assess whether intensity of assessment correlates with the postgraduate attainment of doctors from these schools.

Concepts: Evaluation, Physician, Assessment, United Kingdom, Antibiotic, Constitutional monarchy, Decolonization, General Medical Council


The suicide of doctors under regulatory investigation in the United Kingdom has recently been under scrutiny. Despite a commissioned report into the issues surrounding these deaths, we discuss a variety of procedural and legal lacunae not yet openly considered for reform. We identified that the UK coronial system has in place several legal instruments requiring coroners to report the physician suicides as preventable to the regulatory body, the General Medical Council (GMC). We were unable to identify that these suicides were reported in line with established legislation. We also explored the relationship between the GMC and its registered doctors, concluding that the GMC does indeed have a duty of care towards its members on this important matter and that there should be procedural reform to tackle the inherent risk of suicide whilst under investigation.

Concepts: Death, Physician, United Kingdom, Law, Suicide, Decolonization, General Medical Council, Scots law


International medical graduates working in the UK are more likely to be censured in relation to fitness to practise compared to home graduates. Performance on the General Medical Council’s (GMC’s) Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) tests and English fluency have previously been shown to predict later educational performance in this group of doctors. It is unknown whether the PLAB system is also a valid predictor of unprofessional behaviour and malpractice. The findings would have implications for regulatory policy.

Concepts: European Union, Physician, United Kingdom, England, English language, Council of Europe, General Medical Council, United Nations Security Council


Space medicine is fundamental to the human exploration of space. It supports survival, function and performance in this challenging and potentially lethal environment. It is international, intercultural and interdisciplinary, operating at the boundaries of exploration, science, technology and medicine. Space medicine is also the latest UK specialty to be recognized by the Royal College of Physicians in the UK and the General Medical Council. This review introduces the field of space medicine and describes the different types of spaceflight, environmental challenges, associated medical and physiological effects, and operational medical considerations. It will describe the varied roles of the space medicine doctor, including the conduct of surgery and anaesthesia, and concludes with a vision of the future for space medicine in the UK.Space medicine doctors have a responsibility to space workers and spaceflight participants. These ‘flight surgeons’ are key in developing mitigation strategies to ensure the safety, health and performance of space travellers in what is an extreme and hazardous environment. This includes all phases from selection, training and spaceflight itself to post-flight rehabilitation and long-term health. The recent recognition of the speciality provides a pathway to train in this fascinating field of medicine and is a key enabler for the UK Government’s commercial spaceflight ambition.

Concepts: Medicine, Surgery, Physician, United Kingdom, Space exploration, Specialty, Human spaceflight, General Medical Council


Failure rates in postgraduate examinations are often high and many candidates therefore retake examinations on several or even many times. Little, however, is known about how candidates perform across those multiple attempts. A key theoretical question to be resolved is whether candidates pass at a resit because they have got better, having acquired more knowledge or skills, or whether they have got lucky, chance helping them to get over the pass mark. In the UK, the issue of resits has become of particular interest since the General Medical Council issued a consultation and is considering limiting the number of attempts candidates may make at examinations.

Concepts: Scientific method, Physician, United Kingdom, Performance, Knowledge, Examination, General Medical Council, The Pass


The General Medical Council (GMC) has conducted a consultation process on its proposals for “credentialing” in postgraduate medical practice in the UK. It has been suggested that these may be used to provide formal accreditation of a doctor’s competency in a certain area of practice. There are 5 main issues being consulted upon: (a) the time point in a doctor’s career at which credentialing should be undertaken, (b) the scope of practice that should be included in credentials and whether this should include any competency already accredited by a Certificate of Completion of Training, © the funding source for the credentialing process, (d) the bodies that are entitled to award a credential, and (e) who exactly should be eligible for a credential. The Association of Surgeons in Training has commented on each issue and made recommendations to the GMC. One area of practice that has already begun a regulation process is Cosmetic Surgery, in response to the lack of defined standards and a clear training pathway. Both the GMC and Royal College of Surgeons of England have now published standards in this area and will come into effect in 2016. The impact of these on surgical training is discussed.

Concepts: Medicine, Hospital, Surgery, Physician, United Kingdom, Specialty, General Medical Council, Credential


Trainee research collaboratives (TRCs) have been revolutionary changes to the delivery of high-quality, multicentre research. The aim of this study was to define common roles in the conduct of collaborative research, and map these to academic competencies as set out by General Medical Council (GMC) in the United Kingdom. This will support trainers and assessors when judging academic achievements of those involved in TRC projects, and supports trainees by providing guidance on how to fulfil their role in these studies.

Concepts: European Union, United Kingdom, Skill, English language, Collaboration, Council of Europe, General Medical Council, United Nations Security Council


To analyze prevailing definitions of revalidation (i.e., a recently instituted system of ongoing review for all physicians in the United Kingdom), the circumstances of their origin, and proposed applications, after a protracted and sometimes difficult decade in development. This was to support a more consensual approach to revalidation policy before its launch in 2012.

Concepts: United Kingdom, England, Discourse analysis, Discourse, Constitutional monarchy, Decolonization, General Medical Council, Personal union


To explore the views of sick doctors on their experiences with the General Medical Council (GMC) and their perception of the impact of GMC involvement on return to work.

Concepts: Physician, United Kingdom, General Medical Council, Irish Medical Council


Across the UK there are vacant physician posts at every level. This increases workload and stress for those who remain, in turn making substantive jobs less attractive.

Concepts: Profession, English language, General Medical Council