Following a fresh review of its registration arrangements, the General Medical Council has waived the practice of granting ‘limited registration’ to international medical graduates by making way for a ‘full license’ that promises more professional freedom.
The earlier provision imposed several restrictions on the doctors which forced them to work under the supervision of a fully registered medical practitioner. In most cases, they were also restricted to posts within the NHS, which have been recognised for training by a medical Royal College. The doctors could hold the limited registration only for five years at a stretch
The newly registered international medical graduates would however receive full license to practice sans the earlier restrictions but would be limited to work in managed environments for their first two years of practice in the UK, until their first revalidation. This requirement will also apply to new registrants from the UK and EEA. Unlike in limited registration, there will be no time-restriction on the full license.
The proposed changes have already receive positive reviews. To bring them into effect said Dr Shiv Pande, winner of the Life Time Achievement Award, "We will need an amendment to the Medical Act 1983. Discussions are now on with the Department of Health about when this, and other new arrangements - including the license to practice - can be introduced”.
To minimise the disruption to those using the GMC's registration services, the introduction of these changes will be combined with the introduction of the ‘licence to practise’.
The General Medical Council licenses doctors to practice medicine in the UK. Dr Pande enumerated, “Our purpose is summed up in the phrase: Protecting patients, guiding doctors. The law gives us four main functions: keeping up-to-date registers of qualified doctors, fostering good medical practice, promoting high standards of medical education and dealing firmly and fairly with doctors whose fitness to practice is in doubt.”
The new system is expected to start from April 1, 2005