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Independents' Day

BAPIO will not appeal MRCGP judicial review decision

Exclusive The international doctors’ group who took the RCGP to court over its MRCGP exam has said it will not appeal the court’s ruling that the exam was lawful, Pulse has learnt.

However, the president of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), Dr Ramesh Mehta, told Pulse that the organisation would be willing to challenge the RCGP ‘if no solution is found’ to the disparity in pass rates for non-white groups

Dr Mehta said he has spoken with RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker and there has been an agreement to meet to ‘find a way forward’.

The move comes after a High Court decision ruled the MRCGP exam was lawful, following a judicial review into the differences in failure rates between white and non-white medical graduates sitting the clinical skills assessment (CSA) – the role-playing test of GPs’ clinical and communication skills.

However, the judge presiding over the case said it was time for the RCGP to ‘eliminate discrimination’ in the MRCGP and address the disparity in pass rates for non-white groups.

Dr Mehta said: ‘If no solution is found we will challenge the college again. The judicial review confirmed it is a problem, and the college has accepted this.

‘The judge has instructed the college to find a solution for the differential pass rates. This is what BAPIO wanted. I’m hopeful we will be cooperating and collaborating with all stakeholders to find a solution to the differential pass rate.’

The RCGP was unavailable for comment, but Dr Baker has previously said: ‘We agree that further action is needed, and we are already working hard to find the best way of supporting the small number of trainees who fail to pass the CSA component of the MRCGP licensing exam, to give them every chance of passing the exam.’



Readers' comments (13)

  • Vinci Ho

    Fully respect this decision . When the confrontation is over, it is time for all parties to face and accept the outcomes and move on. At the end of the day, it should be all about helping the disadvantaged ones. Isn't that sharing the same spirit of the Oath we signed on for this job?

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  • Vinci what you are saying is laughable but expected. This is exactly what many older GPs who havent sat the exam would say. Let me spell it out:
    no access to video recordings of the exam
    no realistic possibility of success in appeals process because you cant prove anything in an appeal (because - oh yeah you have no access to video recording)
    only one examiner in each room instead of two unlike other exams.
    For years nobody bothered to do anything to help imgs and it took an expensive court case to get the RCGP to at least acknowledge a problem!

    I look forward to your answer Dr.Ho.....

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  • The pass rate for White UK graduates is 17% higher than the pass rate for ethnic S Asian British graduates. Their relative risk of passing is 1.22. The BAPIO quote failure rates rather than pass rates because it sounds better - but surely we are all aware of how to handle those statistics?

    Interestingly ethnic asians do better in GCSEs than White candidates. They are 15 % more likely to get 5 A*-C inc English and Maths. Since the baseline is 68.1% - that is approximately a relative risk of a very convenient 1.22.

    Nobody thinks that GCSEs are racist in promoting those with South Asian names. It is mostly put down to the cultural differences between the two groups. Those from South Asia tend to be pushed more at home, coached by their parents more and are more likely to have private tutoring.

    Now that could be the very reason they do less well now. With two people with equal borderline intelligence, the South Asian is more likely to make it to medical school - due to hard work/ support from their parents etc. The white student is more likely doing another career. Fast forward 10 years, where hard work, access to extra teaching resources etc is more even and the effects of their parents are less significant; excluding those borderline white candidates from medical school, while letting in those borderline Asian candidates (who to be fair worked harder at the time) means that as a group the Asian candidates may do less well in the post graduate exams.

    I think there are loads of reasons the difference could be there - this is just 1. I agree that we should all have access to videos, particularly if you have failed. Those coming into the exam need to think about how this and the appeals should be funded though - as it has to come from candidates overall and the exam is bloody expensive. Perhaps the fairest is you fund your own appeal and then if successful refunded your costs from the overall cost of the exam.

    DOI: Asian, passed first time, mede sure I passed by enough so that no amount of racism could prevent me from passing; and particularly glad I am through the whole system before all of this came to light.

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  • Think outside the box. Scrap the whole ghastly mess of an exam and devise a fair and simple way of choosing future GPs, and God help them.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Reading what Dr Mehta said , my 'move on' does not mean 'waving a white flag'.....

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  • no answer then Dr.Ho. and yes may God help us - what an unjust world we live in. Looking at the others comments It is odd when the obvious answer is there people go to such lengths to justify the unjustifiable

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  • How predictable.

    Judicial review didn't go in favour, several people complaining it's an ajust world and the nation is racist.

    RCGP has already accepted it needs to improve in order to address it's moral responsibility. If this isn't reasonable, and you feel the only way forward is to carry on figting on this issue, why don't you form your own group and move it forward rather then winging on a web site?

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  • Let common sense prevail

    I'm struggling to understand this situation. A judge rules that the exam is not racist but 'there is a problem' (the problem being a disparity in pass rates according to race). The RCGP agree and say 'we will change'. In what way will you change? Find a way to level up the pass rates? Surely that would be positive discrimination and would lower the bar for standards required to become a GP.
    If exam is not racially biased then leave it alone. If it is then scrap it. Get off the fence, for the risk is a dumbing down of standards required, which will further undermine the status of the profession (which we really don't need).

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  • I understood RCGP was concerned about it's recruitement and training process for those groups which may have led to the disparity in the pass rate. Also the judicial review (as far as I can see) has cleared RCGP of intentionally causing racial bias.

    So I have no problem with it changing as long as the standards are not dropped.

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  • Well said David Bush! The court's judgement has merely served to add to the ambiguity. Please stop pussy footing around.

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