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In 2010, the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) in the US announced that, effective in 2023, doctors applying for ECFMG certification would be required to graduate from a medical school that had been “appropriately accredited”. It envisaged that the various bodies that accredit medical schools would be evaluated by “an internationally-accepted organisation”, such as the World Federation for Medical Education (WFME).
The process of ECFMG Certification involves assessing the readiness of international medical graduates to enter US residency or fellowship programmes accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Certification is also one of the eligibility requirements for international medical graduates to take step three of the three-step United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE).
A Council spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI): “The Medical Council has been in touch with WFME with a view to initiating an application process for recognition of the Medical Council as an accrediting agency and expects to meet with them within the coming month or so.”
WFME President Prof David Gordan told MI that the need for this accreditation process arose from the decision of the ECFMG. In practice, the WFME is the only international body in a position to assess accrediting agencies, he outlined.
Prof Gordan acknowledged that US$60,000 “seems an awful lot of money, and it is”, but that it had been fully costed to include areas such as administrative time and the costs associated with bringing a team of experts to the country to undertake the evaluation and produce their report.
“We are not making wild profit out of it, I can tell you,” he said.