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Before you embark on your road to the UK, you need to think about if your primary medical qualification (PMQ) recognized by GMC or not. If it is not, you may feel as though the sky has come crumbling on top your head as you think that you may not have any chance of going to the UK. I have known quite a few doctors who have succeeded in doing this and hence I've written this post describing the process.
DISCLAIMER: This is a general guideline as to how the process goes. If at the end of it GMC decides that your PMQ is not acceptable, you will have to ask GMC what your next step is.
What is the first step?
The very first step would be to check whether your medical institution is listed in the World Directory of Medical Schools. As you can see in the photo below my medical college is listed.
If you can find your institution in WDOMS, as a rule of thumb GMC approves of the PMQ obtained in that institution. Apart from that there are following cases where you might have to go through the PMQ inquiry process by GMC:
- You can't open a GMC online account as you can't find your institution in the GMC list.
- In rare cases, GMC asks for your PMQ inquiry after applying for GMC registration.
Opening a GMC Online Account
You must have started following this article - How to open a GMC Online account and got stuck in the portion where it asks for "Awarding Body". Clicking the symbol next to it takes you to a pop-up page where you are asked to find your organization by "Organization Name" or "City Name".
My institution is operational since 1962 (dates back to 1924), and on first search on GMC's list I did not find it!
That goes to say that the search function there is not as intelligent as one of Google. If you are unable to find it in one search, then don't fall into despair. Try it with different search strings. For example, Mymensingh Medical College is affiliated with Dhaka University. When I searched by 'organization name' with the value 'Mymensingh Medical College', nothing showed up but when I put 'Dhaka University', I could easily find the awarding body.
That's my very first suggestion - SEARCH WITH EVERY POSSIBLE COMBINATION!
After many permutations and tries, if you fail to find the awarding body, then it's time to take the step pf getting your medical qualification recognized by GMC(UK).
Starting the inquiry with GMC (UK)
Before you raise the issue you should first make sure that your medical college is not in this list - Overseas medical qualifications GMC does not accept. Then you write to GMC with your details saying how you were unable to open a GMC online account because you could not find your awarding body in the list. I would strongly advise to also attach screenshots from the WDOMS (as below) to strengthen your case.
The email address for GMC for general inquiry is [email protected]
How to fill up PMQ 1 Form
The most dreadful part is when GMC sends you this form and asks for the needed paperwork to get your medical college listed. Don't fret, we are here to help guide you through this. As of the date of writing this article, the PMQ1 form has the following sections:
- Section 1: Document checklist
- Section 2: Your name and GMC reference number
- Section 3: Your primary medical qualification
- Section 4: The name and address details of the institution that awarded your primary medical qualification (this is usually the university that your medical school is affiliated to)
- Section 5: The name and address details of the medical school campus where you undertook your studies (if different to section 4)
- Section 6: Names and addresses of other medical school campuses where you undertook your studies (if applicable)
- Section 7: Your transferred credits
If you have completed you medical degree in one institution then you shouldn't be filling out section 5-7
Section 1: Document Checklist
It is clearly mentioned that the GMC will NOT proceed to get your medical qualification recognized if the documents listed are not provided. Let's have a look at what documents do you need to provide.
Copy of your PMQ Degree certificate
This is pretty straightforward. If you don't have it - say you haven't been awarded that yet - there definitely should be a way of getting a provisional degree certificate. Collect that and proceed with that. If your certificate is not in English you will have to translate that and submit with the copy.
You need to provide the academic transcripts which mainly lists out which subjects did you study and how much you scored in the exams taken. Transcripts can be provided by the medical college you studied at or by the university it is affiliated with.
If you go up to your medical college's administration office and inquire about 'academic transcript', I'm sure they will be able to help.
It highly varies from one institution to another institution and also from country to country, depending on the course length. My degree provided was MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery) and it was a 5 years course. My first two years were academic and were taught only basic subjects - no clinical rotations. From 3rd year onwards apart from para-clinical subjects we also had to attend clinical rotations in clinical subjects.
The following are the stipulations for the document you need to provide:
Evidence of your clinical rotations completed prior to any pre-graduate internship (please do not submit any post-graduate internship evidence), including:
- Dates of your clinical rotations
- Number of clock hours completed in each clinical rotation
- Location of each clinical rotation
Letter from your AWARDING body confirming:
- The percentage of the course spent undertaking clinical rotations and that they formed part of the overall program of study
- That they oversaw and approved any clinical rotations undertaken
- That the clinical rotations included exposure to medicine and surgery
Here are the templates for clinical rotations- fill it up accordingly and get it signed by the authorized people of your medical institution. Please note, these are templates from my institution - if yours have something different just remember to follow GMC's stipulations
Remember these clinical rotations ARE NOT from your internship - these are from your medical school years. DO NOT include any rotations from your internship - be it pre-graduate or post-graduate.
Letter from your AWARDING body confirming:
- the standard length of course in years;
- the standard length of the course in clock hours (not credit hours);
- the number of years and clock hours that you personally completed of that course
Here is a template for that letter - fill it up accordingly. Please note, this template is from my institution - if yours have something different just remember to follow GMC's stipulations
Section 2: Your name and GMC reference number
If you don't have a GMC reference number as you couldn't open a GMC online account in the first place, it's ok - you can leave that blank. Other fields are pretty self-explanatory.
Section 3: Your primary medical qualification
These dates are best collected from the administration office of your medical institution.
Section 4: The name and address details of the institution that awarded your primary medical qualification
It clearly also says this is usually the university your medical college is affiliated with. If you are confused - just look at your medical degree certificate, whichever institution it has awarded by should be at the top.
The other sections only apply if you have completed your degree in more than one institution. And those are pretty self-explanatory.
Remember this whole PMQ form applies when your awarding medical college is not enlisted with GMC. NOT invariably you will have to do it if your graduation involved two institutions, only when your awarding institution is not listed with GMC.
How to get overseas medical qualification recognized by GMC (UK)
So let me outline the whole step by step process of how to get Primary Medical Qualification (PMQ) recognized with GMC (UK) is outlined below:
- Discovering that your medical college is not listed with GMC
This can be quite frustrating and if you find it at the eleventh hour this can potentially change the timing of your entire plan of taking PLAB exams.
- E-mailing GMC about this issue
The first step would be to take screenshots of your medical college being listed with WDOMS and sending to GMC that you are not being able to a GMC Online account. As a rule of thumb, it will take 5 working days for them to reply back.
- GMC send you an email with the PMQ 1 form
When they reply they will ask you whatever needs to be done.
- Fill up the form and attach all the documents asked
This is where this article comes to help. Follow the templates and gather all the information and get it signed by the authority.
- Await GMC's verification to be done
GMC will email the authorities for confirmation. This is why your institution must have an official email - you can't give GMC [email protected] address. If your institution does not have it at all - then it is up to GMC's discretion how do they want to verify.
- GMC's final assessment
After getting verified and everything been said and done, GMC will let you know about their assessment.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if my institution isn't listed in WDOMS?
You cannot proceed with any of the above-listed steps if your institution isn't listed in WDOMS in the first place. That process is entirely different. Please contact [email protected] for further clarification.
How long will it take the whole process of getting my medical qualification recognized by GMC to complete?
You can see, there is a lot of work for you to do if your medical college doesn't already have those certificates and letters made for you. SO there's that. Then again, your medical college and awarding body will have to respond to GMC's verification process in a timely manner. GMC will let you know when they have sent the email for verification so that you can chase the organizations and get the process done. Overall, it highly depends on how much communication you can maintain with your institution(s) and how efficiently they work.
Is there any way I can avoid all these?
Unfortunately, if your PMQ organization is not listed with GMC you can't even open an account with them. You can't book PLAB exams - overall there is no way you can be GMC registered.
What if I open a GMC account with a different awarding body (which is not mine) and later on try to get all this paperwork done?
This is actually a question we got asked and we wondered what people think about GMC. If you are telling them in an account opening form that you have graduated from "Bob University" and later on tell them that no, actually, I graduated from "Bobert University" - which is not listed with them, what does that make you? You are violating GMC's Good Medical Practice - Paragraph 66 of Domain 4.
To conclude, please read more here - What is an acceptable overseas medical qualification and hopefully you will get this thing out of the way make your road to UK a sure thing.