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Little improvement in international graduate scores on CSA, show new figures


Perhaps it is not racism, but simply a question of language. This is simply intended to stimulate debate. UK born White candidates usually are born into an English speaking household, and speak English for their entire life, so you would expect them to be fluent in communication in their native tongue. UK born BME doctors may well have been born into a household where English is not a first language, and their parents may not speak fluent English, though they will learn it from an early age. The majority will be as fluent as their colleagues, but due to cultural differences, their language skills will also be developed in their native language also, and there may be some whose home life is spent communicating in another language, and regional/cultural language may also have an impact during the formative years. If you were to look back and study GCSE English results and compare back to the exam results at CSA - would there be a correlation with those results, and those passing with grade lower than an 'A' being more likely to fail the CSA? This may explain the differences between the British born cohorts. As international graduates will not have English as a first language in the majority of cases, and although they may have even studied in English, the nuances of communicating in English, to English populations may not be a skill they would excel in compared to a British born candidate. I have met many excellent IMGs - but even when looking at the best ones, they often have poorer English language skills compared to their British born peers, but that is not unexpected. If you compare their GCSE equivalent skills it may correlate with their chances of passing, as would the number of years spent in the UK prior to starting training. It must be a disadvantage to any candidate to take an exam based so heavily in communication, when it is not your first language, and it is only really spoken at work. The rest of the time is often spent communicating in their native tongue with friends and family, and entertainment is often in native languages also. This problem will remain with the CSA while it is so heavily testing communication skills - however as a GP you will be needing those skills each and every day. Poor communication skills do need to be weeded out ideally prior to starting GP training at the selection centre stage. This will prevent good doctors wasting years training when they have a limited chance of actually passing the exit exam to become a GP.

Posted date

25 Feb 2014

Posted time