CodeBlue Stands By Our Report On UK GMC

To date, UK GMC hasn’t sent any objections to CodeBlue or requested any correction or retraction. The British High Commission’s apparent representations to the Malaysian government and conveniently targeting a local media outlet are unfortunate and disappointing.

In reference to the British High Commissioner’s text to Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad – which described CodeBlue’s report on the United Kingdom General Medical Council (GMC) as “sensationalised” – CodeBlue stands by our article titled “UK Medical Council Denies Recognising FRCS Edinburgh Cardiothoracic Surgery Parallel Pathway Qualification For Specialist Registration”.

After the story was published last May 13, CodeBlue sent the article to the GMC’s press office. To date, we have not received any objections from the GMC, nor requests for any correction or to take down the article.

The British High Commission also did not send CodeBlue any request for corrections or to meet us to clarify the issue. 

British High Commissioner Ailsa Terry’s text to Malaysia’s health minister that “there has not been any policy shifts within the UK GMC in the FRCSEd” obfuscates CodeBlue’s report. 

GMC’s statement to CodeBlue was crystal clear that the “FRCS Edinburgh in Cardiothoracic Surgery does not lead to the award of a CCT (Certificate of Completion of Training) and therefore does not entitle an individual to specialist registration”. 

Nowhere does the article indicate any “policy shift” – only that this has always been and remains GMC’s stance. 

On the Portfolio Pathway cited by the British High Commissioner, GMC’s statement to CodeBlue was also very clear, saying: “There is not an exam mandated as part of making a Portfolio application for entry on to the Specialist Register.”

“Where applicants do not hold the Intercollegiate Specialty Board exam, they will need to demonstrate the same level of knowledge by providing a detailed mapping showing how every JCIE competency has been covered in their own qualifications.”

Crucially, the GMC did not state that the FRCS Edinburgh in Cardiothoracic Surgery is “recognised” by virtue of applicants’ ability to use the Portfolio Pathway (just like applicants with all other non-Intercollegiate qualifications from around the world).

To quote Shakespeare from The Merchant of Venice, “all that glitters is not gold”.

The British High Commission’s apparent representations to the Malaysian government and conveniently targeting a local media outlet are unfortunate and disappointing. 

On the one hand, the UK government’s active education arm in Malaysia promotes British education, while on the other, the UK government (via the GMC) refuses to recognise or to see, as equivalent, a cardiothoracic surgery training programme by its own royal college that was created specially for Malaysia. 

The UK government, of course, has every right to set the standards for medical education and training in the UK, and to determine or restrict who can practise as a specialist in their own country. 

In the same manner, Malaysia deserves equal respect and reciprocity regarding our own jurisdiction on medical specialty training.

Boo Su-Lyn is the editor-in-chief of CodeBlue.

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