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The Medical Act[1] (21 & 22 Vict c 90), An Act to Regulate the Qualifications of Practitioners in Medicine and Surgery, also referred to as the Medical Act 1858, was an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which created the General Medical Council to regulate doctors in the UK.

It is one of the Medical Acts.[2]

Describing its purpose, the Act notes that "it is expedient that Persons requiring Medical Aid should be enabled to distinguish qualified from unqualified Practitioners".[3]

The Act creates the position of Registrar of the General Medical Council — an office still in existence today — whose duty is to keep up-to-date records of those registered to practise medicine and to make them publicly available.

The Act has now been almost entirely repealed.[4] The current law governing medical regulation is the Medical Act 1983.[5]

It stated that under the Poor Law system Boards of Guardians could only employ those qualified in medicine and surgery as Poor Law Doctors.[6]

Under a clause in the Act that recognized doctors with foreign degrees practising in Britain, Elizabeth Blackwell was able to become the first woman to have her name entered on the Medical Register (1 January 1859).[7]


  1. ^ The citation of this Act by this short title is authorised by section 1 of this Act.
  2. ^ The Short Titles Act 1896, section 2(1) and Schedule 2
  3. ^ Text of the Medical Act 1858 as originally enacted or made within the United Kingdom, from
  4. ^ Text of the Medical Act 1858 as in force today (including any amendments) within the United Kingdom, from
  5. ^ "UK primary legislation: Medical Act 1983". General Medical Council. Retrieved 20 December 2014.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-05-04. Retrieved 2009-05-17. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ Elston, M. A. (2004). "Blackwell, Elizabeth (1821–1910)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 2008-12-29.