Editorials

Summative assessment in general practice

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.313.7058.638 (Published 14 September 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:638
  1. Douglas Carnall, General practitioner
  1. 206 Queensbridge Road, London E8 3NB

    Much to learn from new scheme

    This month sees the introduction of a new system of summative assessment of training for general practitioners in Britain. Under the old system registrars in general practice collected the signatures of hospital consultants and general practitioner trainers certifying that they had satisfactorily completed a minimum of three years of experience in approved training posts.1 3 Now, doctors who want to be eligible to become principals in general practice must satisfy the Joint Committee on Postgraduate Training for General Practice (JCPTGP) that they have adequate knowledge, consulting skills, and clinical competence for the role.

    Such knowledge and competence will be assessed by multiple choice questions and a videotaped assessment of consulting skills, together with a written report of practical work in general practice and a structured report of performance in practice from the registrar's trainer.2 The assessments are being organised at regional level, with the joint committee confining its role to inspection and standardisation.3

    Concern that the old system of assessment in Britain may have allowed registrars of poor quality to slip through the net drove the introduction of the new scheme. Reports of individual patient tragedies at the hands of doctors who had only recently received their certificate from the Joint Committee on Postgraduate Training for General Practice,4 5 the low rate of refusal of certification (only 16 of 6200 registrars …

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