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Landmark judicial review to decide on future of MRCGP exam

The much-anticipated judicial review of the MRCGP exam is set to begin tomorrow in a landmark case that will determine the future of the assessment.

The judicial review against the RCGP was given the go-ahead last year after the courts granted international doctors’ group the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO)permission to challenge the college over alleged racial bias in its MRCGP exams.

The RCGP has strenuously denied the claims, and has said that a GMC-commissioned review exonerated the exam of racial bias.

The administrative court accepted 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.

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The court has the power to order the RCGP to revise the format of the exam if it is found to directly or indirectly discriminate against international medical graduates or non-white candidates.

The exams have been the subject of much controversy after results from the Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA) component revealed that 65.3% of international medical graduates failed the exam, compared with 9.9% of UK graduates.

They 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 first revealed in February last year 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.