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International doctors granted judicial review of the MRCGP exam

Exclusive A judicial review against the RCGP has been given the go-ahead after the courts granted an international doctors’ group permission to challenge the college over perceived bias in its MRCGP exams.

Pulse has learnt the administrative court has accepted this week that the RCGP may have a case to answer surrounding its MRCGP exams, which have shown huge discrepancies in the pass rates between UK graduates and overseas graduates.

However, the court rejected the application from the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin to include the GMC in the claim, although BAPIO is considering whether to appeal this decision.

This comes as the GMC prepares to publish the results from a review it has commissioned into the exams by Professor Aneez Esmail.

The exams have been the subject of much controversy after they showed that the Clinical Skills Assessment component (CSA) revealed that 65.3% of non-UK graduates failed the exam, compared with 9.9% of UK graduates.

It also showed a discrepancy between white UK graduates, with a failure rate of 5.8% and black UK graduates, with a failure rate of 24.4%.

Pulse reported in February that BAPIO had commenced legal action against the RCGP after a crunch meeting with the College, deaneries and the BMA failed to reach agreement about a way forward.

Dr Ramesh Mehta, the head of BAPIO, said: ‘I’m delighted that the judge and has seen and said there is a case against the RCGP. Our legal team… are considering whether to appeal to include the GMC into this judicial review.’

An RCGP spokesperson said they would comply with any instructions from the courts: ‘We have not yet received official notification from the courts but will obviously comply with any instructions.

‘We take equality and diversity issues very seriously and strongly refute any allegations that the MRCGP exam is discriminatory.’

The GMC was approached, but declined to comment before publication.