View Full Version : Sticky BBC Story

12-13-2005, 05:27 AM
I have decided to make this a sticky that is closed because I only want it as an informational sticky. It was brought to my attention that this story is very important to new people so here it is. If and when the status changes for St. Chris there will be an update.

By Matthew Chapman
BBC Radio Five Live

A BBC investigation has revealed that the General Medical Council has been recognising some British-based medical colleges that are offering worthless degrees.

The validity of the degrees of hundreds of doctors from another college, one of whom works as a surgeon in the NHS, has been seriously called into question.
The GMC has announced that it has suspended its recognition of the degrees of one Luton-based college and is investigating the status of four others.

file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Owner/My%20Documents/scsmstorybbc_files/_40987340_surgery_corbis_203.jpg The GMC has launched an inquiry following the BBC investigations

The UK has seen a boom in private medical colleges which use NHS facilities for training, but which eventually award degrees from foreign institutions.
These "squatter schools" have to be recognised by the GMC to allow their graduates to take its PLAB test, which then allows them to practise in the NHS.
There are now doubts about the validity of degrees awarded by St Christopher's College of Medicine in Luton, which currently has 400 medical students.
The GMC has given recognition to the college where students can pay up to 150,000.
Despite its UK location, the college's degree awarding powers come from Senegal in West Africa and St Christopher's claims to have received this accreditation in 2000.
In an interview with the BBC, the director of the government's department of higher education, Momar Marieme Dieng, was asked if he was aware of any government accreditation for St Christopher's from 2000.
"No, not to my knowledge" he replied, although he said the government did award accreditation to a college called St Christopher - Iba Mar Diop medical college, which did not open in Senegal until 2003.
file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Owner/My%20Documents/scsmstorybbc_files/o.giffile:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Owner/My%20Documents/scsmstorybbc_files/start_quote_rb.gif We are accredited, we are supported by the government of Senegal so I really don't know what to say over and above that file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Owner/My%20Documents/scsmstorybbc_files/end_quote_rb.gif

Allan ****
St Christopher's

St Christopher's British campus, however, awarded dozens of medical degrees during this interim period, one to a surgeon who works in a west London NHS hospital.

"They may have started its activities even before getting their agreement," Mr Dieng said.
While the college claims to have received accreditation in February 2000, a Senegalese government letter obtained by the BBC, and dated seven months later, stressed that St Christopher's was starting on a process which might lead towards accreditation in the future, but that accreditation was not yet effective.
The Luton college says it is mystified by the statement from the senior government official.
The head of their UK operations, Allan ****, said "We are accredited, we are supported by the government of Senegal so I really don't know what to say over and above that".
Government letter
On Friday afternoon the college founder, Paul *****, showed the BBC a photocopy of what was said to be a letter from the Senegalese government accrediting St Christopher's as a medical college.
The BBC has so far been unable to verify the letter.
Mr ****, who recently had 500,000 in damages awarded against him by a US court for libelling a rival medical college and poaching its students, also told the BBC that St Christopher's had regular visits from the Senegalese government to check on the quality of its teaching.
Mr Dieng, of the west African government's education ministry, said to his knowledge there are had been no checks on the college.
European College of Medicine
The graduates of a second British-based college called the European College of Medicine were also recognised by the GMC to take the PLAB test to become doctors in the UK.
The London college claimed its degrees were awarded from a medical school in Liberia.
However, the Liberian government told the BBC that no such medical school had ever existed there.
The college then told the GMC that its accreditation had switched to three respected Russian medical schools.
The GMC accepted this move and told would-be students that it once again accepted the medical degrees of the London-based college.
However, when the BBC contacted the Russian medical schools two of them denied any agreement had yet been reached, while one said it had never heard of the European College of Medicine.
No-one from the college replied to repeated requests for a comment.
As a result of these revelations the General Medical Council announced that it had suspended its recognition of degrees awarded by St Christopher's while it investigates the college's accreditation in Senegal.
"We have immediately begun our own investigation, which centres on the possibility that private, UK-based, medical colleges have been inappropriately claiming that their courses would lead to the awarding of a medical qualification from a university," a spokeswoman said.
"We have suspended our acceptance of the relevant medical degrees.
"We have also asked the NHS Counter Fraud Service to assist us, and have amended the information on our website."

Web Site: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4410020.stm

The school has said that all documentation was provided to the GMC but as of 12/13/2005 the GMC web site still reads:

St. Christopher's College of Medicine, Luton
We are currently investigating this institution's affiliation to the St Christopher s College of Medicine in Senegal. Until our investigations are complete we have suspended our acceptance of medical degrees awarded by this institution and/or any of it's affiliations. Please contact us ([email protected]) for advice if you are currently studying or applying to study at this institution.

GMC web site:

The NHS has also advised UK hospitals about the above.

A student posted here this:

LJG (http://www.valuemd.com/members/ljg.html) http://www.valuemd.com/images/statusicon/user_offline.gif vbmenu_register("postmenu_303237", true);
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 118

My interview with the Senegalese
As we all know a group from Senegal was on campus yesterday including the Ambassador fromSenegal to London General ****** *******. They spoke with a group of three of us (students) asking question about education experience, country of origin, future plans, and what opinion we have about students and teachers. At the end we were informed that all paper work between the government of Senegal and the GMC has been completed. That the government full supports SCCOM including the sub-campus in Luton and they are expecting a positive resolution fairly soon. The Ambassador went on to say that they the government is proud of the Luton campus and the quality of the program and that we are "the jewel" of Senegal and ambassadors in the pursuit and sharing of knowledge. Just a matter of time now, thank GOD............

As far as what this means? Thats the debate here. Please read whats
Posted and add to the posts if you want.

Bottom Line here is Don't know when the GMC will give their final word on this. The best advice here is if you are wondering about going now you may want to defer until the outcome of this. there are past issues brought up on this site about the school, please do a search.

Good Luck.

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