Controversial college returns

June 4, 2004

A private medical college that was forced out of a business partnership with King's College London over its misleading academic claims is now holding classes at King's teaching hospital, St Thomas'.

The Medical College of London has been renting teaching facilities at St Thomas' Hospital despite the termination of an earlier deal to provide teaching and classroom space to the college at King's.

There is also a warning about MCL qualifications posted by the General Medical Council on its website, where it stresses that the college is not a recognised medical training institution in the UK and that holders of its qualifications will not automatically qualify for GMC membership. MCL had claimed that its qualifications could lead to medical practice in the UK.

The GMC said: "MCL, although based in the UK, is not able to award UK primary qualifications leading to registration with the General Medical Council because MCL is not listed in the Medical Act 1983.

"It is not a university in the European Union offering a primary European qualification recognised in the Medical Act. Its degrees will not lead to automatic registration with us."

MCL, which accepted at least 125 students for 2003 entry, has claimed legitimacy for its medical qualifications through associations with other private colleges based in the Caribbean, which the college has claimed are recognised by the World Health Organisation.

But the GMC said: "We are not aware of degrees from MCL being awarded by a WHO-listed university."

This week, St Thomas' Hospital Trust said: "The trust accepted room hire bookings in good faith, and that is our only relationship with this organisation - we do not endorse or promote its activities, and we do not have any financial link with it. In light of the information you brought to our attention, and other information we have gained, the trust will now review the appropriateness of accepting room hire bookings from this organisation."

The Times Higher also discovered that a senior professor at Surrey University had been teaching at MCL, lending it further academic prestige.

Peter Kangis, a doctoral programme director at Surrey's School of Management and former director of the Surrey European Management School, confirmed that he had taught at MCL before his resignation in March this year.

Professor Kangis, who retires from Surrey this month, said: "I provided temporary unpaid teaching cover and am no longer associated with the college. I was not aware of your articles at the time."

Want to blow the whistle?

Contact Phil Baty on 020 7782 3298 or email him at


Between September and December 2003:

* MCL was wrongly claiming to be affiliated with King's College London and Greenwich University and wrongly using a Greenwich campus as its official business address

* MCL was linked to a private St Lucian college run by a US businessman, who in 2000 agreed a payout to three students he signed up for "worthless" medical degrees

* A doctor who taught at MCL threatened to sue when it listed him on its website as a professor of medicine and as an academic at the Royal London Hospital. The doctor was neither.

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