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International doctors advised they have ‘strong legal case’ against RCGP exam

Exclusive: The Indian doctors’ representative body has been advised it has a ‘strong legal case’ for action against the RCGP over the high failure rate of international medical graduates taking the College’s exit exam.

Dr Ramesh Mehta, the chair of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, told Pulse it will continue to prioritise ongoing discussions ith the College, but it has received legal advice that supported a possible judicial review application.

BAPIO has begun collecting funds for a possible legal action and held an emergency meeting on Saturday to discuss the failure rates of IMGs taking the clinical skill assessment (CSA) component of the MRCGP.

The development came as RCGP chair Clare Gerada sent an email to members over the weekend saying the College is taking matters ‘very seriously’.

‘The issue about the exam and the high failure rate of overseas graduates is something that continues to raise its head and it’s really important that you know where the College stands,’ she wrote.

‘While we might not be ‘out there’ contributing to the noise as much as some of you might prefer, we take such matters very seriously. This is a very sensitive issue and a lot of work is being done behind the scenes.

‘The College is the standard setter for our profession. We exist to improve patient care and to that end, we must ensure that our assessments are as robust and rigorous as possible and that the trainees going through the process are the very best that they can be.’

She said there had been ‘noise’ on Pulse and Twitter about the issue.

She added: ‘It’s unfortunate that people can hide behind anonymity or choose to air their grievances in public, knowing that the College will never break confidentiality or fight its battles through the media.’

Dr Gerada added that the failure rates for the Applied Knowledge Test, which is anonymised and marked electronically, showed similar patterns to the CSA.

‘I hope we are now in constructive dialogue for moving forward. There will be another meeting in the New Year, to which we have also invited COGPED, and I will keep you posted,’ she said.

Dr Mehta said the weekend’s conference was an ‘emotional meeting’ with around 40 people attending.

He added: ‘Our trainees feel angry and demoralised about the way the assessment is carried out. We have received initial advice from our legal team. The advice is we have a strong case against the fairness of the assessment. That was encouraging for the trainees and they decided to start collecting funds.’

‘However, the BAPIO Executive said it will continue to collect funds but it would rather continue dialogue with RCGP. We will try our best to find a negotiated settlement.’