News Release

General Medical Council urged to revise terminology for international medical graduates

Peer-Reviewed Publication


The General Medical Council (GMC) should revise its terminology regarding international medical graduates (IMGs) in the UK, argues a new commentary published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine (JRSM).

The existing terminology used by the GMC fails to encompass the full spectrum of doctors facing challenges in the UK medical workforce, according to the paper’s author, Professor Mo Al-Haddad of Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow.

Notably, he says, the GMC's definition of IMGs overlooks doctors from the European Economic Area (EEA), potentially excluding them from vital support and interventions aimed at reducing the attainment gap between various groups of medical graduates.

Currently, the GMC's definition of IMGs refers only to doctors with primary medical qualifications (PMQs) from countries outside the UK and the EEA. This is because, when the UK was a member of the EEA, doctors from other EEA countries could freely practice medicine in the UK without needing to sit an equivalence exam. Other than for GMC registration purposes, there is little benefit to categorising IMGs in this way.

Professor Al-Haddad says: “I call on the GMC to change the terminology as a matter of urgency so that the term international medical graduate includes all doctors practising in the UK and who have a PMQ from outside the UK.

“We need to accurately report the proportion of IMGs in the medical workforce in the UK, and fully recognise and count the contribution of IMGs who graduate from the EEA.

“Most importantly, we need to eliminate the risk of excluding EEA IMGs from the interventions and support that non-EEA IMGs receive (or should receive) in the UK.”

Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.