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Legal action commences over MRCGP exam failure rates

Exclusive An international doctors’ group has commenced legal action against the RCGP over the MRCGP exam, after a crunch meeting with the College, deaneries and the BMA failed to reach agreement about a way forward.

The British Association Of Physicians Of Indian Origin (BAPIO) told Pulse it was going ahead with a judicial review against the RCGP and the GMC over failure rates for international medical graduates in the clinical skills assessment of the MRCGP.

It was also revealed that the GMC will be appointing an independent party to review the fairness of the exam.

BAPIO also confirmed it is currently reviewing 60 potential claims for an employment tribunal for candidates who failed the CSA. It has said it will support the legal costs of the tribunals, which it hopes to hear as one class action.

A joint statement from BAPIO and the RCGP said that they had agreed to ‘work collaboratively towards a negotiated agreement’, and welcomed an independent review of the MRCGP commissioned by the GMC.

But BAPIO said it would carry through on its threat issued last month to give the College three weeks’ notice before legal action will commence by lawyers.

BAPIO met with College officers, including chair Professor Clare Gerada and chief examiner Dr Sue Rendall yesterday, as well as representatives from the British International Doctors Association, COGPED and the BMA.

The talks were planned to find a resolution to the issue outside of the courts, but failed to reach a consensus, although there were indications that a resolution may be found before the judicial review begins.

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Dr Ramesh Mehta, chair of BAPIO, told Pulse: ‘We are progressing with our judicial review. The college has agreed to keep on talking to see if we can resolve the issue in due course.’

A joint statement by BAPIO and the RCGP said: ‘We agreed to move forward together to clarify accurate numbers of doctors unable to obtain their Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) because of CSA failure.

‘All parties welcomed an external review commissioned by the General Medical Council of the MRCGP, but despite the productive meeting, BAPIO explained that they will be proceeding with their legal action.

‘All parties agree that they will continue to work collaboratively towards a negotiated agreement.’