In our latest blog, Jo Hood (Head of UK & Ireland Recruitment) outlines the upcoming changes to the GMC registration process...
The GMC are falling in line with many other medical regulators worldwide with the introduction of independent primary medical qualification verification.
It comes into force from 11th June 2018 and should now be the first step taken by anyone considering working as a doctor in the UK. The aim is to further provide the public with the confidence that doctors working in the UK have the medical knowledge and skill as well as the qualifications and experience to provide excellent medical care.
Checking directly with awarding institutions that medical qualifications are genuine provides an extra level of assurance. We hope you find the rough guide below useful.
From 11 June 2018, applicants for provisional or full registration with a licence to practise in the UK will need to have their primary medical qualification independently verified before the General Medical Council (GMC) will grant registration.
This will apply if you:
- qualified at a medical school outside of the UK, EEA or Switzerland
- are a national of a country outside the UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland who graduated from medical schools outside the UK
- do not already hold provisional registration
What do I need to do?
Before you start the verification process:
You should check that your primary medical qualification and/or post-graduate qualification are considered comparable.
If your qualifications don’t meet criteria set out by the GMC, they won’t be able to grant your registration with a licence to practise, even if they have been verified by ECFMG.
If you aren’t sure whether your qualification is acceptable, you should contact the GMC before starting the verification process.
You should also create a GMC Online account.
To verify your document:
You’ll need to set up an account on ECFMG’s online system, and they will send your document(s) to your medical school to be verified.
Once you’re sure your qualifications are acceptable, the first step is establishing an online EPIC account and confirming your identify. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to upload your qualifications for verification. ECFMG will assess your qualifications and communicate directly with your awarding institution to confirm their authenticity. When they’ve verified your qualifications, you’ll be informed by email and will be able to notify the GMC.
We recommend that you start the verification process as early as possible and have your qualification(s) verified before applying. The time it takes to verify qualifications depends on a number of factors and once you start the registration process with the GMC you only have 90 days to complete it.
Who are ECFMG and what is EPIC?
ECFMG stands for Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates.
They are a not for profit organisation based in the United States, with more than 30 years’ experience in primary source verification. They already provide this service for other regulators around the world. For more information on ECFMG, visit their website.
EPIC (Electronic Portfolio of International Credentials) is ECFMG’s online verification portal. The EPIC website is where you will set up an account and submit your qualification for verification. The EPIC verification process is managed entirely by ECFMG.
How will verification benefit me?
Many medical regulators around the world are introducing this as a part of their application processes. Once your qualifications are verified, you can use EPIC to provide proof to other medical regulators who use ECFMG for this service; there’s no need to have them verified again. This can save you time and money, if you choose to work in a country outside the UK.
Which qualifications need to be verified?
Most applicants will only need to have their primary medical qualification verified. However, if you’re applying because you hold an acceptable postgraduate qualification (PGQ), you will also need to have your PGQ verified.
You don’t need to verify any other documents.
What happens if I’ve already had my qualification verified by ECFMG?
If your qualification has already been verified by ECFMG, you won’t need to have it verified again. Simply enter your existing EPIC ID number on your application to the GMC.
If your qualification has already been verified by ECFMG for ECFMG Certification, or through ECFMG’s International Credentials Services (EICS), you will need to create an EPIC account. However, ECFMG may be able to use that previously verified qualification to complete your request. After you create your account, ECFMG will review your file, and if it is acceptable, ECFMG will add your previously verified qualifications to your EPIC Portfolio.
How can I track progress of my verification?
ECFMG will email you when they send your qualification for verification and again when it has been verified. If you want to monitor the status of your verification, you do it via your EPIC account. If you have any queries about your verification, you should log into your EPIC account.
What happens when my qualification is verified?
ECFMG will contact you once they've verified your qualification(s).
Once you've confirmed that they can share this information with the GMC (you can do this when you create your EPIC account or once they’ve completed the verification), they'll automatically send a copy of the report to the GMC.
What happens if my qualification cannot be verified?
It is rare that ECFMG are unable to verify a qualification, although occasionally it can take some time for some awarding institutions to respond.
In the event that ECFMG are unable to verify your qualification within the required time-frame, the GMC will need to understand the reasons why before advising you on the next steps.
How much will it cost?
The fees are charged in USD and you’ll need to pay ECFMG directly. Based on exchange rates as at January 2018, it can cost anywhere between £155 – £260, depending on how many qualifications you need to submit for verification.
These fees are set by ECFMG, and you should contact your bank or check currency conversion sites for the most up to date foreign exchange rates. Please see the Fees section of ECFMG’s website for further information.
If I change my mind, or my qualification can’t be verified, can I get a refund?
Refunds aren’t available once ECFMG have started the verification process. If your awarding institution has not responded to the verification requests, you should contact them directly.
To find out more about job opportunities in the UK, or to learn more about the changes to the GMC registration process, contact Jo Hood on +44 (0)131 240 5266 or email firstname.lastname@example.org