Intended for healthcare professionals

Observations Medical Training

Moving the point of doctors’ registration

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 25 April 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2863
  1. Niall Dickson, chief executive and registrar, General Medical Council
  1. ndickson{at}

Any such shift would take time and would require a major rethink of the undergraduate curriculum

The point at which the UK General Medical Council grants registration to newly qualified doctors has for some time been the subject of debate.1 In the past few years concerns have risen over the prospect of oversubscription to the foundation programme (the first part of medical training in the United Kingdom) and the possibility of newly qualified graduates finding themselves not only unemployed but unemployable.2

In its first report on the state of medical education and practice, the GMC pointed out that although “doctors do not have a right to a job for life any more than any other profession . . . students who enter medical school have a legitimate expectation that if they pass their examinations and graduate they should have the opportunity to qualify as a doctor.”3 The moral obligation here is therefore not to give every medical graduate a job but to make it possible for those who passed the requisite examinations and assessments to become a doctor.

The debate was …

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