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GMC to launch review of MRCGP exam results

Exclusive: The GMC is set to launch a review into the failure rates for different groups of medical graduates taking the MRCGP exam and says it is ‘determined to make progress’ on the issue.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said the regulator was planning to hold talks with the RCGP about the outcomes of recent exams and it was currently compiling data from the MRCGP exam in order to determine if further research was needed.

In a letter to the British International Doctors’ Association, dated 21 December, Mr Dickson said the GMC was aware of the differentials in pass rates for various groups in Medical Royal College exams and that it was taking action.

He said: ‘We are determined to make progress. An important first step is to compile accurate data to enable proper, detailed, evidence-based analysis of exam outcomes among different groups.

‘We are therefore looking at aggregated results of College examinations to help determine where we need further research to explore the observed differences in performance.

‘As far as the RCGP’s CSA is concerned, we have asked the College to provide us with data about the outcomes of recent exams and assessments including the CSA, and we will be meeting with the College in the New Year to review matters.’ Click here to read the full letter

The GMC is required to set the standards for all postgraduate medical training and also has a duty to promote equality and diversity in the medical profession.

In response to the GMC’s letter, BIDA chairman Dr Sabyasachi Sarkar wrote: ‘The failure rate depending on ethnicity of the doctors for RCGP exam is simply staggering and this needs to be explored.

‘We are delighted to see GMC is taking its responsibility for equality seriously and trying to work with the College to understand the reasons and to find solutions.’

An RCGP spokesperson said: ‘We have had some very helpful discussion with the GMC and we welcome the suggestion of a further review.’

Meanwhile, the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin has said it has collected more than £30,000 for its fund for legal costs to pursue a judicial review and employment tribunals for trainees affected by the CSA.

Click here to view our illustrative timelime of the CSA’s chequered past over the last six years