PLAB : key to the kingdom
Many doctors from around the world want to pursue postgraduate medical training in the United Kingdom, but first they need to overcome many barriers, including the Professional and Linguistic Assessment Board (PLAB) examination. Even after passing all the exams, however, the market still might not have a job for them. Katherine McGinn and Irina Haivas find out why
The United Kingdom has long been an attractive target for overseas doctors seeking postgraduate medical training. For overseas medical graduates, however, the path to practising medicine in the United Kingdom is not the smoothest one, from the PLAB exam to getting a job in an increasingly competitive and crowded market.
Overseas graduates need to pass the PLAB exam in order to be able to apply for jobs and to register with the General Medical Council (GMC). Registration with the GMC is a requirement for practising medicine in the United Kingdom.
UK graduates and those who trained in other countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) and are EEA nationals (box 1) do not have to take the PLAB exam and can register directly; the exam is necessary only for non-EEA graduates. It is designed to assess the candidate's ability to undertake hospital employment at senior house officer level (SHO) in