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International doctors advised they have 'strong legal case' against RCGP exam

Exclusive: The Indian doctors’ representative body has been advised it has a ‘strong legal case’ for action against the RCGP over the high failure rate of international medical graduates taking the College’s exit exam.

Dr Ramesh Mehta, the chair of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, told Pulse it will continue to prioritise ongoing discussions ith the College, but it has received legal advice that supported a possible judicial review application.

BAPIO has begun collecting funds for a possible legal action and held an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss the failure rates of IMGs taking the clinical skill assessment (CSA) component of the MRCGP.

The development came as RCGP chair Clare Gerada sent an email to members over the weekend saying the College is taking matters ‘very seriously’.

‘The issue about the exam and the high failure rate of overseas graduates is something that continues to raise its head and it’s really important that you know where the College stands,’ she wrote.

‘While we might not be ‘out there’ contributing to the noise as much as some of you might prefer, we take such matters very seriously. This is a very sensitive issue and a lot of work is being done behind the scenes.

‘The College is the standard setter for our profession. We exist to improve patient care and to that end, we must ensure that our assessments are as robust and rigorous as possible and that the trainees going through the process are the very best that they can be.’

She said there had been ‘noise’ on Pulse and Twitter about the issue.

She added: ‘It’s unfortunate that people can hide behind anonymity or choose to air their grievances in public, knowing that the College will never break confidentiality or fight its battles through the media.’

Dr Gerada added that the failure rates for the Applied Knowledge Test, which is anonymised and marked electronically, showed similar patterns to the CSA.

‘I hope we are now in constructive dialogue for moving forward. There will be another meeting in the New Year, to which we have also invited COGPED, and I will keep you posted,’ she said.

Dr Mehta said the weekend’s conference was an ‘emotional meeting’ with around 40 people attending.

He added: ‘Our trainees feel angry and demoralised about the way the assessment is carried out. We have received initial advice from our legal team. The advice is we have a strong case against the fairness of the assessment. That was encouraging for the trainees and they decided to start collecting funds.’

‘However, the BAPIO Executive said it will continue to collect funds but it would rather continue dialogue with RCGP. We will try our best to find a negotiated settlement.’

Readers' comments (147)

  • This is not good for a respected college like RCGP. Do not reduce the standard of the MRCGP, but come out with a sensible solution. The failure rate is too high for IMG as we all know there are a lot of factors contributing to this failure rate, which includes the the calibre of the candidate, the training and how the exam is conducted. RCGP has assessed GPs for years, why this problem now and why are we going to court? Taking doctors out after failing a single component of the MRCGP without any support is a disaster for everyone including the tax payer, RCGP are you going to use membership fees to fight this case? please think twice and use money wisely. We need some wise men to advice the chair on this.

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  • Thank GOD justice will prevail!

    The whole world will see how this exam is biased and only for the advantage of one group of doctors which is unfair Thank you Dr Coales and BAPIO for not let this go one for longer and destroying the career of so many dedicated skilled hard working doctors.

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  • One of two things is correct

    1) A majority of those who failed were failed inappropriately in which case RCGP has a question to answer and make amends.
    2) They deserved to fail as they were not up to standard. If so then a cohort to have such a striking discrepancy means they were not flagged up as such thru the GP training (GP trainers/Deanery responsibility) AND the selection process for GP training was flawed . This means the government has to compensate those who lost out on MTAS if they can prove that they are statistically more likely to have done well in MRCGP exam.
    Well the RCGP has to compensate BME doctors who fail OR the Deaneries will have to compensate the "white local" graduates who did not get into GPVTS as the selection process (???MTAS) was unsuitable.

    Either way the shit has hit the fan!
    COI- BME doctor.

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  • Female candidates do better than males and so taking this further is the college sexist as well?

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  • I read responce fron Clare she not for one moment said its serious issue, She said there is some noise
    Come on Guys its lives and livelihoods of People not noise for GOD sake

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  • British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin

    I presume it is there to promote Indian doctors only.

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  • Comment @ 1:08pm
    No you can become a member as well mate. It is a body fighting injustice caused by people with thought process like you have got!

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  • How do failure rates of IMG tell us the CSA is discriminating on the grounds of ethnicity as opposed to clinical skills/ training/ communication etc.etc.? Surely we need a more evidence than rates of failure? Is there any evidence that the ethnic background of the examiner makes any difference for example? And why do we need 'wise men' to advice the chair? Isn't that sexist?

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  • There is first hand evidence that potentially serious clinical errors have been overlooked in the CSA when the candidate conforms to a certain demographic group. This judicial review is essential for patient safety and to maintain the high standards of General practice in the UK.

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  • ..so show us the evidence....

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