Your recent story about the RCGP entrance exam was rather disturbing.
Grassroots GPs often find it hard to relate to the college, but its vital role in education and training has never been in question. That the RCGP raised the bar for success in the CSA while anticipating this would adversely affect pass figures has raised serious questions, giving credibility to the argument that the CSA has been grossly unfair and biased against doctors not trained in the UK. I am worried this can be perceived as discrimination.
The change also meant practices have continued to face recruitment problems, which can potentially be unsafe for patients.
No one questions the intention to improve the quality of GPs coming out of training, but changes should have been implemented from the bottom to the top. The college needs to explain to GPs what pilots were done to assess the impact of the change and what arrangements put in place to support trainees and training schemes adversely affected.
If there is a subgroup that lags behind in communication skills, it should be supported, not punished.
The approach should have been to raise the bar to entry to the general practice training programme, as that would have been more cost-effective, safer for the public and fairer to trainees.
Without a change in approach, GPs like me will doubt not only the college’s exams for new entrants, but also its role in the much bigger task of revalidation for existing GPs. If it can’t treat its children fairly, how much faith can grown-ups have?
From Dr Kamal Sidhu
Peterlee, County Durham