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GPs go forth

Calls for urgent action to bring 1,500 GP trainees out of exam limbo

The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) has called for temporary measures to release 1,500 GP trainees stuck in limbo due to exam cancellations.

The organisation has written to the RCGP suggesting that 'given these circumstances where there is no immediate possibility of resumption of CSA and AKT', there 'appears to be only one logical and pragmatic approach i.e. reverting to summative assessment that relies on assessments carried out at workplace and trainer reports'.

The letter, from BAPIO president Dr Ramesh Mehta, said this comes as 'calls for an alternative format to the current MRCGP are not new'.

He said: 'This should allow a majority of the trainees to enter the workforce as fully qualified GPs and lead to more than 1,500 GPs to progress and support primary care in the near future when they will be sorely required to pick up the pieces of this pandemic not only with the Covid-related issues, but even more so with all other illnesses that have been overshadowed by the diversion of resources – cancer and mental health to name just a couple.'

He argued that 'a similar format' could also 'give the profession access to another nearly 500 GPs'.

'We know that there is this large cohort of GPs who have been released from training for not being able to pass AKT or CSA despite having demonstrated capabilities to the satisfaction of their trainers. Some of them had been allowed a re-enter training to clear their examinations and their futures hang in balance too. Many have not been allowed that opportunity either,' the letter said.

Dr Mehta continued: 'An invaluable pool of skills and resource especially in these critical times is a huge waste and we owe it to our public and patients to support them to get back into mainstream primary care.'

Dr Kamal Sidhu, chair of BAPIO’s GP forum and a GP trainer in County Durham, told Pulse: ‘It is a very unfortunate situation when we have so many GP registrars whose future is uncertain.

‘We hope that in these very exceptional times, the college will take a lead on a vey realistic approach in line with the precedents set so far by many other NHS organisations as outlined in the letter.

‘We also must ensure that no GP registrar must be left out of job as a result of the pandemic changes.’

A recent update from RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall and vice chair of professional development Dr Michael Mulholland said: ‘As you may know, the College has no direct control over either the training programme nor entry onto the GP register, and so most of the decisions that need to be made do not fall within our gift alone.

'However, we are very involved in discussions and decision-making about this, as the standards of training, and the experience of trainees, are of paramount concern to us and we are keen to find a solution and to be part of managing this difficult situation in a way that supports trainees and protects patients.’

The RCGP's associate in training (AiT) community has also conducted a survey of trainees, concluding that 78% are opposed to extensions to training as a solution for exam cancellations.

Meanwhile, a statement from Health Education England and the health training bodies in the devolved nations, published yesterday, said, regarding exam cancellations: 'We are aware that these developments have created additional uncertainty for you at a time of generally heightened concern.

‘We have been working hard with the RCGP, the GMC, the BMA, NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care to determine a way forward.’

The letter said they would communicate further ‘as soon as a solution is found’.

Readers' comments (11)

  • MEANWHILE HAVING RETURNED TO THE MEDICAL REGISTER I AM STILL AWAITING INSTRUCTIONS ON WHAT HAPPENS NEXT-----4 WEEKS JUST SITTING AROUND WATCHING BOJO'S ANTICS----AND YES THAT INCLUDES HIS DUBIOUS STAY ON I.C.U

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  • Always at it.

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  • There is huge unemployment amongst GP Locums and Salaried GPs with over 10 years experience as Practices have reduced considerably Locum expenses and no recruitment drive at the moment with establised Salaried GP's being asked to cut down hours. Hence, no need for any additional work force in any urgent manner. Let them sort out the mess with GP Unemployment in the UK first!

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  • Where's Optimus?

    There is huge unemployment amongst GP Locums and Salaried GPs with over 10 years experience as Practices have reduced considerably Locum....
    Agree totally..
    There is very high risk work available.. but at half the usual hourly rate....
    Risk remuneration balance totally wrong

    Many Locums are freelancers and if you operate as a limited company taking a small monthly pay and taking main pay via yearly dividends ....
    Then you are also screwed by the chancellor..
    as you cannot get the financial support offered..
    That is even if you had three years tax returns aswell...

    Typical of this Government..
    Sound bites and empty promises..

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  • Where's Optimus?

    The Locum agencies are suffering as well..
    Staff layed off / Minimum staff *(1or2)
    Work from home..

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  • Where's Optimus?

    P.s. when is the NHS actually going to get Captain Tom's 30 million support.
    Why don't they commission uk manufacturers to produce PPE and then donate it to
    Frontline/GP/Carehomes/
    etc..
    National Lottery funding needs to be used as above aswell.

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  • Where's Optimus?

    Where does the buck stop with this Covid Exam limbo?
    Health Education England and the health training bodies in the devolved nations,

    ‘We have been working hard with the RCGP, the GMC, the BMA, NHS England and the Department of Health and Social Care to determine a way forward

    BOTTOM LINE...
    THE EXAMS GENERATE INCOME...
    Repeated resit income
    No one is going to cook the GOOSE that lays the
    Golden eggs

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  • To 0946
    Why should the taxpayer pay income to anyone with no previous income to pay tax on, just dividends?
    Get real
    ( I am a locum who takes income and pays tax on all of it )

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  • I don't think they have an 'invaluable pool of skills' to offer if they can't pass a couple of straightforward examinations. Whatever about the CSA the AKT is an objective test of medical knowledge. What's the point of everyone else working hard if people who fail can just be nodded through - it just devalues the profession.

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  • ornicus how do you explain differential pass rate

    'According to the RCGP's latest annual report from 2017/18, the pass rate of the AKT exam for white doctors was 86.8% and 60.7% for all BME doctors. For the CSA exam, 93.8% of white graduates passed, compared with 83.4% of UK-educated BME graduates and 39% of internationally-educated BME graduates.'

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