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Steps to improve BME MRCGP pass rate revealed

23 June 2014

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Doctors leaders will be working together to support international and black and minority ethnic (BME) doctors to pass the MRCGP exam. 

The Royal College of GPs (RCGP), British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) and British International Doctors Association (BIDA) will work together to identify struggling trainees at an early stage and improve their training experiences to prepare them for the exam and for safe practice. 

The RCGP will be developing e-learning resources for Clinical Skills Assessment preparation (based on sociolinguistic research) and reviewing ways to enhance Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA) feedback to candidates. 

This move follows the Judicial Review hearing at the High Court in April in which the CSA was judged to be lawful, despite a higher percentage of BME candidates failing.

RCGP chair Dr Maureen Baker said that it was “reassuring” to have the High Court rule out claims of discrimination. 

However, she said the college is keen to move forward in a number of areas for the benefit of patients and trainees. 

She said: “”We take multiple steps to ensure that our exam is robust but fair to all candidates and the overall failure rate for trainees wishing to enter general practice is very low.

“But as an organisation committed to equality and diversity, we have always been, and remain, concerned that international medical graduates do not do as well in the exam as those from UK medical schools. Indeed, we were the first of the Medical Royal Colleges to publicly raise this issue and have commissioned and supported extensive research to understand what is happening and to try and identify what the causes may be.” 

Dr Ramesh Mehta, president of BAPIO said: “We have had a very fruitful discussion with the RCGP. We are pleased that the Royal College has identified several steps to implement the equality impact assessment.  We also discussed the issue of those trainees who have been removed from the training and the possibility of them getting back in to general practice. We are looking forward to working constructively with the Royal College for fairness and professional excellence in the interests of doctors and patients.

“It is time to make progress and we welcome the proactive approach of the RCGP to provide much needed relevant support to the international medical graduates and black and minority ethnic doctors in relation to training and passing the MRCGP.”