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Trainees face increase in fees for new RCGP exam

Trainees face increase in fees for new RCGP exam

The RCGP has set the fee for its new exam at £1,180 – an increase of £104 on the cost to trainees of its current exam.

The new Simulated Consultation Assessment (SCA) will replace the Recorded Consultation Assessment (RCA), which was introduced during the pandemic to enable trainees to complete their training programmes remotely.

However, the new exam is cheaper than the clinical skills assessment that was in place before the pandemic, which required all trainees to be assessed in person at the RCGP in London at a cost of £1,352 in 2019-2020.

The new SCA will see GP trainees being assessed virtually in their own practice, with actors playing the role of patients, and will be rolled out for the first time in November.

The college said that compared to the RCA, the SCA has a lower cost for examiner marking and quality assurance, but ‘substantially higher’ combined cost for role-players, examiner training, and other costs.  

In an update to trainees, RCGP’s chief examiner Professor Rich Withnall and vice chair for professional development Dr Margaret Ikpoh said: ‘We have worked hard throughout the design of the assessment to ensure that costs to trainees (including travel costs) are minimised as much as possible, while of course balancing the need to provide the highest levels of reliability and validity required for a high-stakes national GP licensing examination.

‘The SCA is a standardised examination and will rely on a large bank of cases being written and maintained to the appropriate quality.

‘This was never a cost for the RCA where consultations were recorded with real life patients.

‘This is a standard cost for all examinations, and for the SCA we have developed cases using economies of scale and adapting existing cases where possible from the CSA.’

The RCGP said that the cases will be performed by ‘professional role-players who are trained, calibrated and standardised’ so that although the cases appear the same for every trainee, the exam ‘responds to the approach of each individual doctor,’ as in real life.

The reliability of the examination is ‘critical to the quality of each role-player’, the college added, and ‘significant investment’ is made into their training and quality assurance as well as the fees to the agencies.

There were ‘very minimal’ role-player costs in the RCA, but these have now returned for the SCA and are higher than the CSA due to market rates.

Last month, GP trainees feared their preparation for the RCA part of their MRCGP exams would have gone to waste due to the college underestimating demand.

The college had changed booking slots at short notice for when candidates could apply and submit their assessments due to very high demand and ‘a logistics issue’.

The RCGP then said all GP trainees who need to take the recorded consultation assessment (RCA) part of their MRCGP exam will now be able to.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Anonymous 5 May, 2023 4:04 pm

Disgusting, filthy, money-making agenda by RCGP. Exams should not be generating income.

Jonathan Mounty 5 May, 2023 5:15 pm

Is the college actually profiting or is it cost neutral??

John Graham Munro 5 May, 2023 7:31 pm

I recall the days when, as long as you were a member of the B.M.A. and paid £50 yearly, you were entitled to add M.R.C.G.P. after your name———-no exam!

Anonymous 5 May, 2023 9:31 pm

7 million income from exams, 20 million income from membership fees last year.

RCGP also plays with your money investing them in stocks and shares.

Read their full financial statement available online.

Time to stop this madness.

Darren Tymens 6 May, 2023 10:26 am

All that expense, inI order to join a profession that is undervalued, underpaid and over-exploited.
The College should be subsidising the exam, not the other way round.
Fewer than 1% of members attend the London headquarters each year.
It appears that a tiny pool of GPs dominate the College, like a sort of private club, hence the same names appear again and again.
Ask yourself: what has the College ever done for me? What has it achieved for the profession in the last 20 years? If I left and kept my £500 annual fee, what exactly would I lose? Why do we even need a a Royal College?
DOI I left after past and (then) present College Chairs failed to defend the partnership model in front of a Select Committee.

Simon Sherwood 6 May, 2023 10:58 pm

Well I thought that you just bought the MRCGP qualification these days with no exam?
Certainly if I paid the RCGP I could use the initials , despite never having taken an exam with them ever .

Really makes the youngsters efforts with the exam worthwhile

John Graham Munro 6 May, 2023 11:57 pm

Simon———like you I found Jaywick prepares you for anything

Not on your Nelly 7 May, 2023 9:37 am

Haven’t paid for 10 + years. Once the exam is done, there is no benefit or remaining a member. You don’t need it to work. You don’t need it to be a trainer. You don’t need it to get any of the jobs advertised by HEE, NHSE, private or NHS employers for any job out there. Please please consider saving £540 a year and spending it on something worthwhile. Or give it to charity. But sont waste it on an organisation that has done nothing for on the ground GPs since inception. Best way….cancel your direct debit. If you still want to use your MRCGP title , do it with the year you got it in brackets. No one cares if you have it either way .

Anonymous 7 May, 2023 5:15 pm

Even more disgusted to learn that you are not allowed to use mrcgp title when you stop paying. It’s literally a cartel. A bunch of privilidged boys club. Absolutely shocking.

Dave Haddock 8 May, 2023 4:20 pm

Spent the savings from not being a member for several decades on a nice little open top sports car as a retirement present for spouse.
Thanks RCGP!

Andrew Jackson 10 May, 2023 11:58 am

all trainees in all specialties should have the exam fees for a SUCCESSFUL exam entry refunded. it would be a simple investment that would make a significant difference to their finances at a time when often money is tight and they feel very undervalued
not sure why the BMA have never asked for this in negotiations
easy argument to make to the public