Intended for healthcare professionals


RCP is to highlight gap in performance between overseas doctors and UK graduates

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 02 December 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g7441
  1. Abi Rimmer
  1. 1BMJ Careers

The Royal College of Physicians is working to raise awareness of differential exam attainment between UK and international medical graduates, Jane Dacre, the college’s president, has announced.

Speaking at the conference of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin in Manchester on Sunday 30 November, Dacre thanked the association for tackling the issue of differential attainment. “I suppose it was an elephant in the room, and it’s been an elephant in the room for some time,” she said.

Dacre said that her college had been working to raise awareness of differential attainment among its examiners. “That’s the first step: to make people realise that there is a problem.” She said that the college had also been working with its curriculum and training departments to deal with the problem. “We feel it isn’t an accusation that can only be levelled at the exams, because what the exams are doing is measuring something that’s going on in training,” she said. “So if there is a problem being picked up in exams, the solution isn’t only in exams, it’s in exams and training.”

The Royal College of Physicians is also looking into training lay people to assess candidates in exams, as well as doctors, Dacre said. It also carried out a study of the differences in language between ethnic minority and white UK candidates sitting the college membership exam, which had been submitted for publication.

Dacre said that the college had spoken to medical authorities in other countries about the difficulties faced by international medical graduates sitting exams. “Exactly the same problem happens in every country where they have minority groups,” she said. The college was also setting up an exam specific equality and diversity training programme, she added.

The London division of the college was working to change its structure to ensure that it had a more “welcoming” culture, Dacre said. Among the changes was a move to ensure that all vacancies at the college would be appointed after an open advertisement for expressions of interest. “So, no more of the old boy network,” she said.