John Howard

BMJ 2016; 354 doi: (Published 27 September 2016) Cite this as: BMJ 2016;354:i5248
  1. Anne Gulland
  1. London
  1. agulland{at}

Developed the MRCGP International examination

John Howard, a GP in Surrey, loved a challenge. He spotted one when he noticed that many overseas doctors were coming to the UK to sit the membership exam for the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP). The MRCGP was—and still is—the gold standard qualification for general practice, but Howard realised that for doctors working in regions such as south Asia or the Middle East it was not entirely relevant.

Howard—whose career was built on the cornerstones of teaching, training, and mentoring —had the idea of developing MRCGP International, a qualification as academically rigorous as the UK exam but more appropriate to the countries from which the candidates came. Howard thought that about 70% of family medicine was common to every country around the world and around 30% was more country specific—mostly to do with epidemiology. So, in south Asia, for example, there would be more focus on infectious diseases.

MRCGP International

The qualification was very much Howard’s baby, and he developed a system where each participating site developed its own course, with the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) …

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