What you must know about the GMC, WFME and ECFMG

Updated on 21/05/2024 in
All you need to know about the GMC, WFME and ECFMG

Studying medicine in Europe is a considerable feat and cannot be taken lightly. We understand that you'll be spending your time, money and energy pursuing your dream for the next few years. That's why potential students should be smart in the choices they make.

It is essential you gather facts and look at the evidence objectively. After all, medicine is based on empirical evidence and not hearsay for a reason.

Some 'companies' make insubstantial claims about GMC regulations as if they have the authority to do so. They don't use sources or evidence, then ask yourself, do they deserve your trust or even time?

At Medlink Students, you can be reassured that we always encourage students to verify all the claims with the General Medical Council (GMC) for themselves. We even provide students with links to the GMC website because we use only verifiable information.

As doctors who have been through the same journey as you, we know what it is like. You are overwhelmed with information and do not know where to start. We gain students' trust by providing transparent, honest and verifiable advice. We regularly keep up to date on the changes and updates by the GMC because our priority, first and foremost, is you and your future.

Years of Study

The GMC requires British students to study for a minimum of 5,500 hours over three years, not four years. You can check this on the GMC website for yourself. As you can see on the GMC site, there is no set requirement on how many transcripts someone can have.

Is the World Federation of Medical Education (WFME) relevant?

The WFME is an accreditation agency based in Geneva. The WFME introduced new regulations in 2023. However, the GMC does not use external accreditation agencies such as WFME. If you want to work in the UK, you must meet the GMC's requirements, not some random international accrediting organisation. The GMC is not concerned about the WFME. The GMC is not even accredited, nor have they applied to be accredited by WFME. If you want to work in the UK, you must abide by the GMC regulations, not WFME's rules.

How does the GMC use the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG)?

The ECFMG has two roles, to certify or to verify degrees. Certification and verification are two separate processes.

International medical graduates who wish to pursue medical licensure in the United Kingdom only need to have their degrees verified by ECFMG. In essence, there is no need for ECFMG certification. The GMC only uses the ECFMG to verify a degree certificate as authentic. Verification means they will contact your medical school and ask them if the documents you provided are genuine. These are the requirements of the ECFMG for verification.

ECFMG certification is separate from verification. ECFMG certification rules are for those wanting to work in the USA, so as a British student, you can ignore the ECFMG's certification rules altogether.

Hence, the GMC does not need you to have ECFMG certification nor to meet the ECFMG requirements for certification.

We can see how this may be confusing for other companies who spread misinformation and confuse you. We wouldn't expect anything less from "businessmen" that have never set foot in a medical school.

We hope this brings clarity to you as a student. If you see dubious site listing requirements for ECFMG certification, you'll need to reconsider whom you trust for advice about your future.

Taking this into account, who best to approach for advice on medicine other than a company founded by British overseas-trained doctors like us? Speak to us now so we can plan your future together based on facts, not misinformation. You can be confident that our advice is reliable, verifiable and in your best interest.

Article written by Dr Sam El Mais
Dr Sam El Mais, MD, MSc, BSc, graduated from a renowned medical school in Romania in 2019. He uses his professional knowledge and personal experience to guide students on crucial aspects such as university selection, admissions processes, and cultural adjustments.
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