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Independents' Day

GMC to launch review of MRCGP exam results

Exclusive: The GMC is set to launch a review into the failure rates for different groups of medical graduates taking the MRCGP exam and says it is ‘determined to make progress’ on the issue.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said the regulator was planning to hold talks with the RCGP about the outcomes of recent exams and it was currently compiling data from the MRCGP exam in order to determine if further research was needed.

In a letter to the British International Doctors’ Association, dated 21 December, Mr Dickson said the GMC was aware of the differentials in pass rates for various groups in Medical Royal College exams and that it was taking action.

He said: ‘We are determined to make progress. An important first step is to compile accurate data to enable proper, detailed, evidence-based analysis of exam outcomes among different groups.

‘We are therefore looking at aggregated results of College examinations to help determine where we need further research to explore the observed differences in performance.

‘As far as the RCGP’s CSA is concerned, we have asked the College to provide us with data about the outcomes of recent exams and assessments including the CSA, and we will be meeting with the College in the New Year to review matters.’ Click here to read the full letter

The GMC is required to set the standards for all postgraduate medical training and also has a duty to promote equality and diversity in the medical profession.

In response to the GMC’s letter, BIDA chairman Dr Sabyasachi Sarkar wrote: ‘The failure rate depending on ethnicity of the doctors for RCGP exam is simply staggering and this needs to be explored.

‘We are delighted to see GMC is taking its responsibility for equality seriously and trying to work with the College to understand the reasons and to find solutions.’

An RCGP spokesperson said: ‘We have had some very helpful discussion with the GMC and we welcome the suggestion of a further review.’

Meanwhile, the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin has said it has collected more than £30,000 for its fund for legal costs to pursue a judicial review and employment tribunals for trainees affected by the CSA.

Click here to view our illustrative timelime of the CSA’s chequered past over the last six years

Readers' comments (73)

  • When I took MRCGP decades ago I felt that I had to toe a certain political line, and certainly follow an ethical stance that had been adopted and assumed as normal by its leaders. I learnt to tell another story.

    Later I found that Fellowship By Assessment was designed by Fellows in large partnerships for such doctors alone. Anyone else was beyond the pale. That process is a little better now, but The College has had a similar malign influence of appraisal and revalidation. The processes the College imposes assumes that you are working in a trendy left of centre partnership, and if you are not doing so, you should be. Revalidation and appraisal for portfolio doctors is made extra difficult as a matter of College policy.

    They do not know what they are doing, so convinced they are that they alone carry the tablets of medical commandments and good practice down the mountain.

    It may be differing ethical views of the world is a cause of the failure rate.

    Dr Gerard Bulger FRCGP FRACGP CCFP

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  • Someone is getting the GRIP

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  • I think they should halt the CSA till this inquiry concludes
    If it goes to JR/ ET college will end up paying millions of pound sin compensation (Retrospective changes to exam in sep 2010 without due consultation and nearly 300 GP's expelled due to that)

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  • Munna Bhai MBBS

    Will i get my money back? Should have invested in euro millions! Much better chance of getting something back.

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  • There is a need for a completely independent ie Judicial look into this issue. I suspect most Foreign trained doctors feel they have suffered disproportionately from the GMC RCGP NCAS and their locally trained colleagues for the same reasons that Foreign trained doctors fail the MRCGP exam although in different context.

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  • I think no one including the GMC is aware that RCGP not comparing results to other colleges exit exam, especially those who went though proper training program ,head to head data, not MRCp and MRCS results. Ask GMC how many trainees were released from other specialities after completing their training except passing exit exams.

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  • Also I can't understand how can medical dr judge in 10 minutes with an actior whether a candidate has got sufficient linguistics skills for CSA or not. The clinical examiner should only mark the candidate for clinical skills and there should be a linguistic expert ( not a medical dr) marking the linguistic abilities !
    GMC should also ask the college regarding the retrospective changes made and must find a solution for all the effected trainees (2008 and 2009).
    GMC must thoroughly investigate this extremely flawed CSA exam.

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  • @3:13
    Very valid point.
    @rcgp must also provide data re how many trainees are released from training each year from other specialities for not passing the exit exam.
    The college has no answer so will completely close their eyes on this issue.

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  • Hi guys.. I need some counselling..please help...
    Never felt so low, I can't concentrate any more, argueing with my family over trivial things, can't face any exam revision, been avoiding practice sessions with my colleagues, I am going for my third attempt in February, all I tend to do is avoid anything related to CSA. As I am writing this comment, I feel very valnurable and lacking mental and physical energy..
    My head is about to explode as my two hemispheres fighting each other, in one hand I need to practice and on the other, can't face doing it.. It feels like a nightmare that does not seem to have an end..

    Please help..


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