Manchester has been chosen to host a new state of the art centre to assess international medical graduates before they work in the UK.
From March 2010, the majority of doctors who want to work in the UK but graduated outside the European Economic Area (EEA) will be assessed at the centre, which will be based at 3 Hardman Street, Manchester.
It is expected that 1,800 doctors per year will attend and the GMC has launched a recruitment drive for local staff.
All international medical graduates have to demonstrate their clinical skills and knowledge before they are registered with the GMC and allowed to seek work in the UK.
Most do this via an exam called Professional Linguistics and Assessment Board (PLAB) test. The new centre will host the second part of the exam which includes a practical element designed to ensure doctors can safely perform common procedures.
The centre will host astonishingly lifelike prosthetic body parts so doctors can be tested on variety of exercises such as:
- taking blood from a lifelike false arm
- examining a mocked-up ‘pregnant’ abdomen
- performing simulated examinations of the eye, ears and nervous system
Additional practical tests involve actors playing the part of patients, and assess doctors’ ability to communicate with and diagnose in a true-to-life setting.
Currently, doctors who have graduated outside the EEA take the second part of the PLAB test at facilities in the GMC’s London office.
The centre will also be used by doctors undergoing a performance assessment as part of an investigation into their fitness to practise.
Anthony Egerton, Assistant Director of Registration at the GMC, said, “We are delighted to be bringing this state of the art assessment centre to Manchester.
“Colleagues running the Clinical Assessment Centre in London have run a first-rate service, examining over 23,000 candidates from over 90 countries since we opened in 2003, and will continue to do so until the centre moves to Manchester next year.
“The move of these facilities to Manchester will ensure that we can continue to provide, and improve upon, a high quality of service. We expect to assess around 1,800 candidates every year.”