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BMA wades into row over MRCGP failure rates for international medical graduates

The RCGP has not gone far enough in addressing concerns over the pass rates for international medical graduates taking the clinical skills assessment part of the MRCGP exam, the BMA GP trainees subcommittee has said.

The committee said the RCGP should consider recording the CSA as standard, a view that has also been expressed by international doctors groups.

The intervention by the BMA marks a new stage in the row over the higher failure rates for international medical graduates taking its CSA exam.

Pulse revealed last year that the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) was in the process of taking advice on a group legal action with regards to the examination – including the possibility of a judicial review.

It said the RCGP deserved credit for being transparent in publishing examination data and publishing a list of frequently asked questions, but said this ‘does not go far enough’.

The letter from subcommittee chair Dr Krishna Kasaraneni to RCGP chief examiner Sue Rendel, dated 9 January, said the BMA had been contacted by concerned members. Click here to read the full BMA letter

Dr Kasaraneni wrote: ‘A view communicated to the subcommittee by a number of BMA members prior to the meeting was that there is something intrinsic to the operation of the CSA that means it discriminates unfairly against IMGs.

‘While we have been provided with no evidence to substantiate these claims, there was some support for this suggestion amongst members of the subcommittee.’

In a separate letter, also sent to the RCGP, 18 trainers said there was evidence that trainees deemed competent by their trainers were failing the exam multiple times. Click here to read the letter from trainers

The letter, obtained by Pulse, expressed concern ‘that the significant difference in the success rates of this examination appears to be based on ethnicity’.

It added: ‘A disparity in pass rate of this magnitude neither existed in old MRCGP nor is it heard of in any other comparable examination internationally. There has been anecdotal evidence that trainees deemed competent by their trainers, considered to be the best predictors of trainees least likely to struggle, are ending up failing the examinations multiple times.’

The college is meeting with the various international doctor groups, COPGED and the GPC GP trainees subcommittee later this month to discuss the issue.

The RCGP said: ‘We are very grateful that the BMA GP trainee sub-committee has shared its concerns with us directly. We are now considering the points made and will be responding shortly.’




Readers' comments (46)

  • Ah what a toothless BMA can do!

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  • @ 4:30 .Please be grateful at least for their support and interest. What else do you expect them to do. Your suggestion please? What can a toothless IMG do?

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  • Sudheer Surapaneni

    It is a significant development which needs credit be given to the BMA.
    Not many doctors are happy with the BMA in realtion to how it handles problems faced by the International doctors. Just as the GMC is listening to the concerns of the minority and International doctors, the BMA has to start acknowledging the real issues causing disproportioante problems to this group. Listening is only a first step but it needs followed up by firm action, even root and branch reform in how BMA responds to complaints and concerns from this group.

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  • Vinci Ho

    The story has only just begun . Be patient , ladies and gentlemen........

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  • CSA is kicking out very good doctors. Credit to BMA for highlighting issue.

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  • The GP Trainers who have written the letter to the college had the courage to be honest. So far, the dismissive and defensive attitude of the college has been extremely sad and disappointing. I hope the college wakes up and takes steps immediately without wasting even a day before more damage is done.

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  • BMA subcommittee chair writes letter hardly rings true with "BMA wades in" .

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  • To the surprise of myself, my trainer, my cleagues and my patients, I am going for my CSA for the third time. I am from the disadvantaged group of doctors, been to UK since 1999, passed the IELTs, 2 parts of the PLAB test, part one of another royal college exam, not to mention my Britishness test. I have a young family and a considerable debt, sadly for the first time in 10 years the word divorce added to my relationship dictionary. My registrar year was supposed to be one of the most enjoyable years of my career, however even if I pass this hurdle, it will not be a year that I would want to remember. I am working hard to sail through this storm and hopefully at the end of it my family and CCT will still be on board. Thanks BMA, BAPIO and BIDA and I hope I will be able to thank Dr Gerada soon.. To everyone who is in a similar position as me, don't lose hope, God is just and justice will prevail.
    RCGP just video the exam and let it be used in the appeal process so I can argue my case with the top examiners in the profession. I am surprised to the fact that there are cameras in every exam room! Use it!?
    I could go on for ever... 1999 x

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  • RCGP to collect funds to pay out to 300 trainees out of training after loosing Tribunal action and JR will be the next headlines ....Mark my words

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