In Great Britain physicians are trained in either medical schools or faculties of Universities. They have medical schools in the Universities of London, Oxford, Birmingham, Bristol and Edinburgh. Entry to a medical school is highly competitive and usually the number of candidates is much higher than the number of the places.
To enter a medical school in Great Britain candidates must pass entrance examinations. Entrance examinations are both oral and written. Students take these examinations at the end of their 6-year secondary- school course, generally at the age of 18-19 years. For entrance to faculty of medicine or a medical school, it is required that the subjects of chemistry, physics and biology or mathematics should be taken at advanced level.
Tuition fees are charged. Most students receive financial assistance in the form of grants, which cover their expenses wholly or in part.
The academic year is divided into 3 terms, each of 10-11 weeks’ duration. The terms run from October to December, from January to March and from April to June. Clinical students, however, attend for 48 weeks of the year. Undergraduate education occupies five years, consisting essentially of two years of basic sciences and three years of clinical work. Two pre-clinical years are occupied by human anatomy and biology, physiology and biochemistry. They also study statistics and genetics. Students attend lectures; do dissections and practical work in labs. Latin is not taught in all medical schools. English and Latin spellings are similar and it is possible to write out prescriptions in English too.
Beginning with the third year the students study the methods of clinical examinations and history taking, general pathology, microbiology, pharmacology and community medicine. Medical students have practical training in teaching hospitals. These hospitals consist of in-patient and outpatient departments. Sometimes these departments are called units. Senior students and especially undergraduates spend most of the time in teaching hospitals. Daily bedside instruction in hospital wards and out-patient departments is given by teachers and doctors. Students follow up their patients and attend ward rounds. Besides the work in the wards the students attend demonstrations and clinical conferences as well as lectures in clinical subjects which are being studied.
Examinations in medical schools are held at the end of each term. It is three times a year. At the end of each term and after each special course students take final exams. They are called sessionals. Most of the exams are written. They include academic and practical problems. The final examinations or finals are in Medicine, Surgery, Obstetrics and Gynecology and Pathology. Finals also include history taking and diagnosing. Before finals in Surgery, students assist in operations. Before finals in Obstetrics and Gynecology they must assist during the delivery of at least 20 babies. These examinations are both written and oral. Written test includes short and long questions and questions of multiple choices. Oral tests include diagnosing a case.
So three years are spent in clinical studies to obtain degrees of Bachelor of Medicine (B.M.) and Bachelor of Surgery (B.S.).The degrees of B.M. and B.S. give the right to register as a medical practitioner.
After the finals graduates work in hospitals for a year. This period is called internship. The newly qualified doctor must serve for six months as a house physician and six months as a house surgeon under the supervision of his medical school. House physicians and surgeons are on call every second or third night. The work of interns is very difficult but their salary is very small. Interns work at least 6 hours a week. After internship a young doctor obtains a "Certificate of Experience" from the medical school and he or she may work as medical practitioner.
Further specialization requires training in residency. It takes 1 or 2 years of work in a hospital in some field. Residency trains highly qualified specialists in a definite field: gynecologists, urologists, neurologists and others. The salary of residents is higher than the salary of interns. After residency a specialist gets rather a high salary.
This degree is a postgraduate qualification obtained by writing a thesis based on original work. It is not required for practice. Such a degree in surgery is termed a mastership (M.S.).