The General Medical Council (GMC) is opening a new test centre in Manchester, which will double its capacity for assessing overseas doctors to practise in the UK.
It is estimated that the new clinical assessment centre will allow the medical regulator to test up to 11,000 doctors each year.
The announcement follows a significant increase in demand for PLAB 2 places in recent years. In 2018, 5,227 doctors took the PLAB 2 assessment at the existing GMC clinical assessment centre, up from 2,970 in 2017 and 2,454 in 2016.
The new centre will be close to the GMC’s existing site in Manchester, which is currently running at full capacity. The additional facility will comprise of two test circuits, each catering for 18 candidates at a time.
The centre is due to open in the summer. In the meantime, candidates will continue to sit PLAB 2 at the GMC’s current centre in Manchester and at temporary sites in London and Cambridge.
The current site in Manchester will also remain in use until future demand for test places can be assessed.
Una Lane, Director of Registration and Revalidation at the GMC, said creating additional capacity for PLAB assessment has been a priority for the council.
"For some years now we have seen the demand for test places increase significantly and we know the good reputation the NHS has, and the opportunities available here for doctors in training, are real pull factors for doctors who have qualified outside Europe," she said.