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Letter of the month: BMA wrong to back MRCGP legal challenge

Dr Chris Woods discusses the consequences of ‘taking sides’ in the CSA row

Dr Krishna Kasaraneni’s article in the December issue (‘The BMA has no choice but to back the legal challenge to the MRCGP’, pulsetoday.co.uk/opinion) implies that the BMA had no alternative but to give £25,000 to the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) to support its legal challenge over the MRCGP exam. I disagree. Cool heads were needed, not more petrol on the fire.

In September, the BMJ published a paper by Professor Aneez Esmail, in which he suggested the MRCGP exam process may be racially biased. The BMJ was right to publish the paper and the RCGP is right to defend itself. The BMA should then have sat down again with BAPIO and the RCGP to mediate and find a constructive way forward.

By taking sides, the BMA has divided the profession and played into the hands of the lawyers and the Government.

Dr Chris Woods is a GP in Bolton

Readers' comments (5)

  • I think Bapio has learnt with past experience that the ''constructive ''way forward as far as the BMA and RC's are concerned is to try to maintain the status quo.Thats not acceptable. a large number of BMA members are affected by this and its right that the BMA supports them or else it should make clear that it does not want Asian doctors as its members and we wont then waste our money there.as it is the BMA support to asian doctors is minimal.

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  • That's right, BMA should have not given £25.000 to BAPIO but SHOULD have taken the battle themselves.
    I do not know from what (comfortable) perspective Chris Woods sees the issue but here there is a clear injustice carried out by RCGP. Let me be clear I do not mean the standards should be lowered but it must be a fair and just exam for all. 10 minutes of such subjective assessment by an examiner and a (badly instructed actor/actress can ruin your life forever as have done mine.
    No right to video recording with proper right of the appeal!!
    Legally, they may be covered and the outcome of the review is unlikely to be satisfactory to many doctors like myself left to pick up the pieces. Please, just compare how similar exam is carried out by Royal College of Physicians?. RCP have two examiners and often the assessment of two varies from clear pass to clear fail. We are human beings after all and see things differently. Furthermore, BAPIO is supporting a specific group of IMGs. The rest are left in crossroad. BMA is much more powerful organization and is supposed to help all its members. If they had acted on time, when the rules of the exam changed (without proper expertise and consultation) probably the situation could have been different today. The victims are not only the doctors but taxpayers, and ultimately the patients and General Practice as a whole. Nearly half a million pounds paid to train (the right candidate) are thrown into the bin by a badly designed exam. The sooner RCGP reflects and withdraw from this battle with no winners (apart from lawyers) the better for all.

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  • Every one is concerned about the fire but sadly no one cares about who is burning or has already been burnt. If the uk graduates were burning instead of the IMGs everyone would have been singing from a different hymn book.

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  • Can any one tell me has a white british graduate been expelled from training since the CSA has come into existence.

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  • Dr Woods, the profession has already been divided by this and you are wrong to suggest the BMA's intervention was wrong. In fact if anything it should have intervened earlier

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