A mandatory induction programme has been proposed for all new doctors registering to practise in the UK.
This recommendation comes in new report on the state of medical education and practice published by the GMC. Each year around 12,000 doctors from the UK, Europe and countries around the world start working in the UK for the first time. The GMC report concludes that more needs to be done to ensure consistency of induction for all doctors, and especially for those coming to work from outside the UK. This would ensure that they get an early understanding of the ethical and professional standards they will be expected to meet, and become familiar with how medicine is practised across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
The Chief Executive of the General Medical Council, Niall Dickson, said: "While there is much to celebrate about medical practice in the UK, the challenges are also clear - we must do more to make sure that all doctors understand the standards expected of them.
"Developing an induction programme for all doctors new to our register will give them the support they need to practise safely and to conform to UK standards. This will provide greater assurance to patients that the doctor treating them is ready to start work on day one."
Cases such as that of the German doctor Daniel Ubani have highlighted the need for greater consistency in ensuring non-UK-trained doctors meet expected standards. Dr Ubani mistakenly administered a fatal overdose of the painkiller diamorphine to a patient in 2008 while working as a GP locum in England.
The GMC plans to work with doctors' employers and professional organisations to develop a basic induction programme and the resulting proposals will go to the Council of the GMC before the end of 2011.
Download the full report: The state of medical education and practice 2011