Intended for healthcare professionals


RCGP will work with international doctors on membership exam issues

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 24 June 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g4250
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. 1BMJ Careers

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) will work with international doctors’ organisations to address issues relating to its entrance exam.

The college said that it would work with the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) and the British International Doctors Association (BIDA) to support candidates. BAPIO had previously brought a legal challenge against the RCGP and the General Medical Council over the examination for membership of the RCGP (MRCGP).

In April a High Court judge ruled that the clinical skills assessment (CSA) section of the exam did not unlawfully discriminate against ethnic minority candidates. However, the judge called on the college to act over the disparity in success rates between white UK graduates and those from ethnic minorities who qualified in the United Kingdom or abroad.1

When the RCGP, BAPIO, and BIDA met earlier this month, the organisations agreed to work together to determine what support could be offered to identify struggling trainees at an early stage and to improve their training experiences and preparation for the MRCGP. The RCGP has also outlined plans to support trainees and trainers by developing e-learning resources for CSA preparation and reviewing ways to enhance CSA feedback to candidates.

Maureen Baker, chairwoman of the RCGP, said, “We are very pleased to now be working in partnership with BAPIO, BIDA, and other key stakeholders to look at solutions and find the best way of supporting the small number of trainees who fail the CSA component of the MRCGP licensing exam, to give them every chance of passing.”

Ramesh Mehta, president of BAPIO, said that the organisations had also discussed the possibility of working to support the return to work of trainees who had been removed from practice. “We are looking forward to working constructively with the royal college for fairness and professional excellence in the interests of doctors and patients,” he said. “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.”

Krishna Kasaraneni, chairman of the BMA’s trainee GP subcommittee, said that the move was welcomed by the BMA, which had questioned the fairness of the MRCGP exam in the past.2 “Everybody knows there is a problem that needs to be solved, and I think this is a welcome step in the right direction,” he said.