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Parliamentary debates and questions

S5W-14780: Miles Briggs (Lothian)

Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party

Date lodged: 21 February 2018

To ask the Scottish Government whether qualified but non-practicing doctors from overseas who live in Scotland and who are seeking to return to practice have to pass a Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test and, if so, what training courses are available to allow them to do this, broken down by institution.

Answered by: Shona Robison 7 March 2018

All medical doctors, whether UK citizens or nationals of countries outside the UK, European Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland, with a primary qualification from a medical school outside the UK, EEA or Switzerland must undertake parts 1 and 2 of the Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test. Doctors who have European Community rights, a GMC approved sponsorship arrangement, an approved postgraduate qualification, or who are eligible to enter the GP or specialist medical register do not have to undertake the PLAB test.

In recognition of the difficulties refugees often face in providing the standards of verified evidence normally required for IMG registration, the GMC works with applicants to try to verify their home qualifications through other means if they have been formally recognised as a refugee under the 1951 United Nations Convention, granted limited leave (5 years), granted exceptional leave to remain (granted prior to 1 April 2003), granted humanitarian protection, or granted other leave. The GMC also offers two free attempts at part 1 of the PLAB test and reduced fees for part 2, with the option for successful candidates to pay their initial registration fee in installments.

The Bridges Programme works with NHSScotland to help refugee doctors to meet the criteria for IMG registration including, where necessary, assistance with attaining the International English Language Testing System score required to demonstrate that they have the English language skills to practise safely in the UK. Other assistance programmes are run across the UK by various organisations and professional bodies; however, the Scottish Government does not hold specific information on these.