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At the heart of general practice since 1960

RCGP council member resigns in protest over the MRCGP exam

An RCGP council member has resigned her position due to the college’s handling of the MRCGP exam.

Dr Una Coales, a GP in south London and a recently elected BMA Council member, resigned her post ahead of an RCGP investigation into whether she had breached the college’s code of conduct.

The RCGP received complaints from two people – at least one of whom is a fellow of the college – of Dr Coales criticism of the college in her Twitter posts and blogs, which included vocal opposition to the college’s stance on its membership exam.

Part of the complaint against her was also that she donated money to fund a recent judicial review into the MRCGP, which looked into the disparity in pass rates for white and non-white graduates, but found the college had not directly discriminated against any candidates.

But the RCGP has denied that its investigation into Dr Coales’s conduct was sparked by her decision to donate money to the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) for its judicial review.

In her resignation letter, Dr Coales said: I would like to cancel my membership of both the College Council and the college itself. My main reason for leaving is in protest at the way in which the college has handled both the CSA scandal and the valid concerns I have raised as a council member throughout the years I have served on council.’

She added that the RCGP must make changes to the MRCGP: ‘It is reasonable to have two examiners present in the CSA, to video the CSA exam using digital CCTV recording and to allow access to CCTV recording to ensure a fair appeal process. This has not happened despite my repeated requests over the years on behalf of members to reduce this disparity.’

RCGP honorary secretary professor Nigel Mathers said: ‘We deeply regret that Dr Coales has chosen to resign her membership of the College, and acknowledge the good work she has done for general practice. The disciplinary process was initiated by concerns expressed by College members about various allegations posted on social media by Dr Coales.’

Readers' comments (31)

  • This is terrible, if the decent people leave the college we'll just be left with current crop of incompetents.

    Did anyone see the daily politics yesterday?
    talk about train crash

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  • Shame she has felt the need to leave. Now there are even fewer voices of reason or even of dissent within the college. Bit by bit the RCGP becomes increasingly unrepresentative of GPs.

    I fear the college has gone from the founding principles of promoting and developing excellence in GP, to now being only interested in their own power and wealth.

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  • Dr Mustapha Tahir

    I am very sorry that Una left the college. I will urge her to reconsider her position, if possible. It is always better to represent your believes, and those of others, from within than from outside. Having said that, Una is more than likely to continue fighting for what she considers right as a BMA Council member.

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  • Clearly the frustration of inertia overwhelms any of us, even somebody like Una, who is a refreshing voice for us GPs.
    Fight the fight....and know when to make a tactical withdrawal for one's own sanity and looking to alternative approaches.

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  • Thee commisars supress dissenting voices,collectivization continues

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  • Knut Schroeder

    Teams and organisations can thrive when they respect and tolerate different opinions. It makes me sad if people resign from the College (or from my practice) because they feel their concerns have not been handled well - regardless of the details.

    In response to Dr Coales' BMA election, a (very) senior College figure posted on twitter in April: "But Una Coales third - heaven help us all!"

    Is is possible that the pot is calling the kettle black?

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  • I think Una has enough support and enough gumption to set up her own college/union.

    I'd join!

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  • Wow! No longer a member of the RCGP. No great loss to her, as it would be no great loss to anyone.

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  • I wonder why among all the other colleges RCGP seem to be very popular for all the wrong reasons in recent years? Is it something to do with the competence, intellect or the general attitude of the people who run this organisation?

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  • It appears Una’s Altruism has caused so much trouble for herself. But at least she will have the comfort of knowing that she is doing her bit to make things better for future generations of doctors while so many others are enjoying their ignorance and privileges in silence.

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