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I often read in the requirements for a post “MRCP or equivalent.” What is meant by equivalent?

Authors: Alan Watson 

Publication date:  22 May 2004


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Posts in the United Kingdom often specify “MRCP [membership of the Royal College of Physicians] or equivalent.” This is almost universal in advertisements for higher medical training posts. At present, certain overseas qualifications are considered equivalent to MRCP (UK). These are:

  • MRCP (Ireland)

  • FRACP part I

  • FCPS Pakistan

  • M Med Malaysia

  • MHKCP

  • MD Columbo

  • FCP South Africa

  • M Med Singapore

  • FRCP Canada

  • US Boards of Internal Medicine

  • A certificate of completion of specialist training in general (internal) medicine from an European Economic Area country (that is, the European Union states plus Austria, Finland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Sweden)

In addition, a postgraduate general (internal) medicine exam passed in a European Union country after completion of a general professional training programme may be recognised as equivalent, but the Federation of Royal Colleges of Physicians literature states that they will “only accept other diplomas as equivalent in exceptional circumstances [and] trainees would be unwise to assume that their diploma is equivalent and should obtain the MRCP (UK) if they wish to train in the UK.”

Alan Watson specialist registrar in general medicine and gastroenterology Trent Region

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