What makes me a doctor in UK?
August 17, 2010 8:13 AM   Subscribe

What degree in the UK will allow me to call myself a medical doctor? Can I add a Dr. to my name if I do an MBBS or equivalent, or do I need to complete a specialization?

I am not wondering what qualifies me to practice medicine, I just want to know what is the least I need to do to call myself a doctor.
posted by hariya to Education (8 answers total)
 
As far as I know (IANAD) you need to do the five-year degree level course in Medicine. Oddly, surgeons are called Mr/Ms as the role of 'surgeon' was traditionally seen as above that of a doctor.
posted by mippy at 8:47 AM on August 17, 2010


I believe something like this would cover it...though I am curious to know why you want to do the least possible to get yourself the title. If you just want to have Dr as your title for whatever reason, you could look into doing a PhD.
posted by mippy at 8:49 AM on August 17, 2010


A Bachelor of Medicine degree, I believe. Five years and you can call yourself 'doctor', although you need further training (e.g. as a GP) to practice medicine.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 8:53 AM on August 17, 2010


Best answer: I believe that people generally adopt the "Dr" title after completing their MBBS/BM ChB - which is before their training is complete, and before they can practice independently of supervision. The BMA has a good overview of the stages of training/grades of doctor in the UK.

The GMC notes that " The use of the title 'doctor' is not protected in law to those who hold a medical qualification", though actually practicing medicine without being registered and licensed is illegal. Certain uses of the title doctor may also be considered misleading if they're used to endorse products (eg. Gillian McKeith).
posted by James Scott-Brown at 10:27 AM on August 17, 2010


Oddly, surgeons are called Mr/Ms as the role of 'surgeon' was traditionally seen as above that of a doctor.
On the contrary, surgeons were seen as inferior to physicians. Surgeons traditionally learned by apprenticeship, whereas doctors were trained at university. See this entry in the Royal College of Surgeon's FAQ.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 10:31 AM on August 17, 2010


"The use of the title 'doctor' is not protected in law to those who hold a medical qualification"...

...but the next sentence of that document says "The title can be used by any doctor included those who have retired or who are no longer practising," which makes me wonder whether the term "medical qualification" means something other than the MBBS or equivalent.

Anecdote: An American friend of mine was doing a postdoc in the UK, and was told (somewhat snippily) by a bank staffer that her PhD did not entitle her to use the prefix "Dr" on her cheques.
posted by AkzidenzGrotesk at 11:05 AM on August 17, 2010


"The use of the title 'doctor' is not protected in law to those who hold a medical qualification"...
...but the next sentence of that document says "The title can be used by any doctor included those who have retired or who are no longer practising," which makes me wonder whether the term "medical qualification" means something other than the MBBS or equivalent.


In the UK there was a lot of fuss about whether retired doctors were required to pay the GMC an annual fee in order to maintain their registration if they wish to continue using the title "Dr" in correspondence. I think that is why the authors of the note felt it necessary to clarify that the retired can use the title.

The MBBS/equivalent is considered a primary medical qualification.
posted by James Scott-Brown at 11:48 AM on August 17, 2010


Response by poster: Great answers, thanks a lot guys. Also, that BMA link answered a lot of other questions about this issue. Basically, we were trying to understand the difference between medical degrees in UK and the US.
posted by hariya at 1:26 PM on August 17, 2010


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