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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GMC review into MRCGP to be led by racism expert

The GMC’s independent review into the MRCGP exam will be led by one of the UK’s leading researchers into racism in the NHS but it may not be enough to stop a judicial review by international doctors groups against the RCGP, Pulse has learned.

The regulator announced that Professor Aneez Esmail, professor of general practice at the University of Manchester, will lead the review. It is due to be published in the summer, pre-empting the judicial review being carried out by the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin against the RCGP.

His appointment has been welcomed by BAPIO and the British International Doctors Association, who have said Professor Esmail is ‘absolutely the right man for the job’. However, they have warned that unless there are substantive changes to the exam, the judicial review will go ahead regardless of Professor Esmail’s findings.

Professor Esmail is a prominent GP researcher, with an interest in patient safety, the treatment of complaints and racism in the medical profession. He carried out a review of the handling of complaints and transparency in the GMC.

Dr Umesh Prabhu, vice-chair of the British International Doctors Association, said: ‘He is absolutely the right person and we are delighted he is the person to carry out the review.’

Dr Ramesh Mehta, the president of BAPIO, said: ‘This is a positive development and it would not have happened if we didn’t challenge the RCGP and GMC and decided to take legal action.

However, he added: ‘We would certainly consider the outcome of the independent enquiry. But what we are looking for is a definitive change to the flawed system of assessment. Whatever the outcome of the independent review, if there is no change to the substantive exam, we will continue to proceed with legal action.’

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC, said: ‘This is a critical examination for doctors wishing to become GPs and it is vital that doctors, patients and employers have confidence that it is both fair and robust. Where serious questions have been raised, as they have in this case, it is right that we should look at them. The underlying causes for different pass rates among different groups of doctors are likely to becomplex, but we are determined to understand this issue, which is why, as a first step, we have commissioned this independent review of the data.’

Professor Clare Gerada, chair of the RCGP, welcomed the review and said:  ‘The College welcomes this independent review and we are looking to undertake further, more detailed, research into the examination later in the year.’

Pulse Live: 30 April - 1 May, Birmingham

Pulse Live

Stephen Dorrell, chair of the House of Commons health select committee, will be talking about where general practice will fit into the NHS of the future at Pulse Live, Pulse’s new two-day annual conference for GPs, practice managers and primary care managers.

Pulse Live offers practical advice on key clinical and practice business topics, as well as an opportunity to debate the future of the profession, and a top range of speakers includes NICE chair designate Professor David Haslam, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey and the Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP, chair of the House of Commons health committee.

To find out more and book your place, please click here.

Readers' comments (45)

  • Better late than never

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  • Munna Bhai MBBS

    I don't know how long all this will take. There are several hundred trainees affected by all this. We should thank Niall Dickson for initiating an inquiry on behalf of GMC. I honestly feel justice will be done and all those trainees who have suffered or are suffering will have a sigh of relief.

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  • Professor Ismail is the guy who called some poor Asian GPs working in underprivileged areas 'lacking in sympathy and having poor communication with patients' on BBC's Panorama.

    One should have little hope with this person.

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  • agree with 6:34's comments. this is all happening all too late. proceed with court action. It's the only thing that can bring about change.

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  • Why do I get the feeling that this independent review led by Prof Esmail for the GMC - is going to show very similar results to the " study " conducted by the RCGP a little while ago.

    I think a judicial review has to happen - no matter what the outcome of this enquiry is. I have lost faith in the system. I think its time for the courts to set things right.

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  • This country now is riddled with curuption , bribery ,, very poor ethics by leading fingers ,,,, that is all going so wrong ,,, if you defend a poor sociaty it will fail ,,, That is what is happening now ,, thes people are defending the wrong and are not coming clean ,, To be right or wrong ..

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  • @11:58 perhaps you feel unless an independent review agrees with your opinion it is not correct, only you can answer that.

    Perhaps the independent reviews will support your opinion, perhaps not. Possibly the courts will support your opinion possibly not.

    BAPIO consider this a positive step headed by the right person. Instead of prejudging the results I am heartened that the review is publicly welcomed by RCGP.

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  • @ 11.51 am.

    Being unemployed, broke and uncertain about the future - my thoughts are bound to be negative.

    I believe life goes about in cycles. Today you are on the top and I am at the bottom. Tomorrow you might have to come down, and trust me, your view on everything will change then.

    I respect your views - please respect mine.

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  • Thank you GMC for your efforts to solve this issue.

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  • GMC KNEW WHAT WAS GOING ON WITH THIS EXAM ALL ALONG FOR YEARS BUT CONVENIENTLY TURNED THE BLIND EYE!!!
    Now the JR is imminent they want to prepare themselves to answer the courts during cross examinations that they have done something to investigate the problem to save their own skin as the regulator. I don't believe them for a second that all is done for the sake of justice or fairness. On the record all looks good but the reality is completely the opposite. This flimsy review will only cement the RCGPs views or claims regarding the exam. When Police investigate a crime they would not ask a henchman of the criminal to run the investigation , do they? WATCH THIS SPACE.
    -JUSTICE

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