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RCGP refutes claims it profits from CSA

By Gareth Iacobucci

The RCGP has rebuffed claims it is profiting from increased failure rates in its MRCGP clinical skills assessment by revealing it is running the exam at a loss.

Pulse recently reported that the pass rate for the new CSA crashed from 81% last year to just 46% this year, fuelling speculation among frustrated registrars that the college could profit from a surge in re-sits, which costs £1,445 per person.

The college is still investigating the fall, but a spokesperson said last week: ‘The RCGP does not generate any profit from the examination and [the] explicit aim is that the MRCGP simply covers its costs. During its first three years it has actually been run at a loss.’

The college said financial support for registrars who failed the exam was the responsibility of deaneries, which had been ‘fully involved in the debate about the standard-setting changes’.

Dr Antonio Perez-Nunez, a GP in Hull, said he failed the test despite being a GP for 20 years and said: ‘I didn’t reapply for a second oral attempt because I felt disillusioned with the RCGP, and I thought that the re-sit fees were too high.’

The college has suggested the fall was largely the result of a poor cohort, with a large number of re-sitters, although it has emerged that even among those taking the CSA for the first time, the pass rate was only 62%.

GP consultation with student Read our new series on passing the CSA

Click here to read Dr Nigel Giam’s first two articles in the series