This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

pul jul aug2020 cover 80x101px
Read the latest issue online

Independents' Day

GMC named as defendant in judicial review over MRCGP exam

The GMC has been dragged into the legal row over the MRCGP exam after a High Court judge ruled it was ‘arguable’ that the regulator had failed in its duties with regards to equality legislation.

Mrs Justice Patterson said that no equality assessment of the exam had been carried out by the GMC and - despite the regulator commissioning a major independent review by racism expert Professor Esmail - there was’ uncertainty in my mind’ about whether it had done enough since finding out about the differential rates.

The judge dismissed the argument that the GMC’s decision to approve the exam was taken in December 2010 – and therefore too long ago to be subject to a judicial review – and agreed that it was arguable that the GMC had an ongoing role in approving the exam.

However, Mrs Justice Patterson said that the GMC would not have to face allegations of direct or indirect discrimination. If it was guilty of this, she argued, then the correct forum to hear such cases would be employment appeals tribunals.

It was revealed in court that there are around 50 employment appeals on the issue ready to be heard. However, it is believed that these will not be heard until after the judicial review has concluded.

A previous hearing ruled that the GMC should be not a defendant in the judicial review being brought against the RCGP by the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin.

But this ruling means that the GMC will have to defend its actions over the differential pass rates between UK and international medical graduates in a judicial review likely to be heard early in the new year.

The judicial review will look charges that the clinical skills examination component of the MRCGP directly or indirectly discriminates against international medical graduates. The date for the full judicial hearing has not yet been confirmed, but it will last three days.

Paul Philip, acting chief executive of the GMC, said: ‘We accept today’s decision by Mrs Justice Patterson to give limited permission to include the General Medical Council within the scope of the Judicial Review. This permission relates solely to public sector equality duty. We will look carefully at the Judge’s Order.

‘We will not be commenting further on this ahead of the hearing

‘We accept today’s decision by Mrs Justice Patterson to give limited permission to include the General Medical Council within the scope of the Judicial Review.

‘This permission relates solely to public sector equality duty. We will look carefully at the Judge’s Order. We will not be commenting further on this ahead of the hearing.’

Readers' comments (29)

  • Dr Gerada, in her interview this morning on BBC said that CSA is a "cultural exam"!!! which is contrary to the scoring sheet - as the marks are given for being able to gather info ex: patients reason for attendance/ideas to the nature of their complaint/ concerns/expectations/ and requirement to develop rapport/ to arrive at a joint management plan. Although there is a standard consultation model, which we are encouraged to follow- we are also encouraged to make it our own..
    Surely this is not a "cultural awareness exam" or did I train on a different planet? Missed it altogether.

    If it is a" cultural exam" then I wonder why the pass rate is not equal for British born/trained ethnic minority to white british! Although practices at home may vary, exposure in communal area/ education would presumably be same…hmmm thats food for thought.

    I welcome the judicial review..which is long awaited and reflects on institutional discrimination. If "comprehensive steps have been taken to ensure the exam is equitable and fair to all candidates" I don't understand the persistent difference in pass rates!!!!

    And sorry Dr Gerada but eventually many IMG's do not pass.

    I am sure we will hear all about it in the near future!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This comment has been moderated.

  • Clare clean bowled!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Low morale and bleak future.. ..

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • If the judicial review declares CSA illegal, will everyone have to re do it again?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Everywhere you hear people saying we want " the best " I feel that they are implying the IMGs are unsafe. We should wait for the judicial review and if RCGP's view is upheld DOH should stop bringing any more IMGS or be highly highly selective.
    IMGs should not be let to Rot in the country waiting for a job for many months , tnagled in visa problems , financial difficulties. home office telling IMGs that you can be on VIsa but can not apply for training post ( stamp on their visa) come on this is not 1940's stop modern slavery.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • If you only replay Prof Esmail's interview in the High Court which he has given to BBC this morning, RCGP and GMC will both be clean bowled, let alone Clare Gerada.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I agree with anonymous at 12.32 pm…
    Dr Gerada's opinion of "cultural exam" made me wonder as to reasons for recruiting an IMG into a profession meant for Doctors who are aware of local culture meaning white candidates! Coz Coloured Doctors, irrespective of their background and training will never learn the local culture!
    Question's which Dr Gerada and RCGP should be answering:
    1) Why do they think it's worth spending public fund in training IMG doctors when they have clear statistical data to support poor performance by an IMG, only to fail at the end of 3 to 4 years?
    2) Why do the RCGP claim to practice equality and diversity while contradicting this statement with their belief of an IMG ( or even coloured doctor of British origin) will not be culturally prepared for the exam!?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • It is worth knowing the information gathered by equality monitoring form of examiners by RCGP. RCGP should publish it to increase the confidence of people taking the CSA examination. Publishing such data does not mean RCGP is being accused of any bias. Please confirm our belief in British honesty. We still do not understand the reason of 1 examiner in each case. We know that triangulation decreases the bias.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • As I posted before:

    Once this is all over, we should all try to negate the negative stereotypes associated with many immigrant groups. Hidden bias and unconscious bias is the result of prejudice which is formed as early as childhood. There are studies which have shown that as early as age 3, children pick up racial prejudice without really understanding their significance. Bias is sustained by in-group attitudes and socialization by the culture at large. Everybody know this. Unfortunately UK is lagging far behind countries like US in this regard. In a hypothetical scenario: white examiner and white examinee: 1 extra mark per station. White examiner but Non white examinee: 1 less mark per station. Net result: big difference between pass rates. A small difference in each station's marks due to hidden bias and prejudice among the examiners can result in the oucome which we are unfortunately witnessing. The fact that white culture is dominant in UK may explain why non whites often do not show a strong bias favoring their own ethnic group.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This institutional bias / discrimination is very disappointing - when i left my country to seek a better future to escape the same , it never crossed my mind it happens in this country.
    Now my life is in disarray being affected by csa.
    It appears next JR would be many months from now.
    Fask track JR should be done here as lives and livelihoods are being destroyed.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page50 results per page

Have your say