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UK pushes for single medical licensing exam

Diversity versus uniformity is the core of a debate in Great Britain over whether to adopt a single, country-wide medical exam. Recently, the British General Medical Council proposed a plan that calls for a single licensing exam for all medical doctors residing in the U.K. 

In 2008, the Medical Schools Council released a statement against a national assessment for medical graduates, cautioning that such an exam could hinder the diversity of undergraduate curriculum options for all institutions in the UK.

Proponents of the single exam, however, assert that such concerns are largely unfounded. Richard Wakeford, a University of Cambridge researcher who has studied medical assessment procedures, points out that other nations that have single, national licensing exams, such as the U.S .and Canada, have not put schools “into a curricular straitjacket” or produced lesser quality doctors.

Krishna Kasaraneni, chair of the education, training, and workforce subcommittee of the BMA’s General Practitioners Committee, suggests that a national licensing exam would benefit all doctors— especially international medical graduates because they would be assessed exactly by the same means UK medical graduates are tested.

The plan is still under study, and the Collaboration for the Advancement of Medical Education, Research and Assessment will report its findings on the examination method in January 2015.

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