Joint Statement by RCGP, BAPIO and BIDA
The RCGP, British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) and British International Doctors Association (BIDA) have announced that they will be working in close collaboration to address supporting international medical graduates and Black and Minority Ethnic doctors in relation to training and passing the MRCGP.
At a very positive and productive meeting held at the College, the three organisations pledged to work together to determine what support could be offered to identify struggling trainees at an early stage and improve their training experiences in order to better prepare them for the MRCGP and for safe independent practice. The RCGP shared some of their specific plans to support trainees and trainers such as developing e-learning resources for Clinical Skills Assessment preparation (based on sociolinguistic research) and reviewing ways to enhance CSA feedback to candidates. BAPIO and BIDA were both very supportive of these initiatives
RCGP Chair Dr Maureen Baker 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.”
This move follows the Judicial Review hearing at the High Court in April in which the Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA) was judged to be lawful.
Dr Baker added: “It was very reassuring to have the High Court judgment rule out the claims of discrimination.
“As the High Court ruling highlighted, patient safety is the key purpose of the MRCGP exam and the College must have total confidence in those who pass the exam, having clearly demonstrated the appropriate skills and clinical knowledge.
“The College is not at all complacent and we are keen to move forward in a number of areas – not just those that were raised in the Judicial Review – for the benefit of patients and trainees. We discussed this with BAPIO and BIDA and received their support.
“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.
“We look forward to working with BAPIO and BIDA in a renewed spirit of collaboration and co-operation.”
In welcoming the decision to collaborate 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 into 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.”
Dr Bachi Sarkar, National Chairman of BIDA said: “We are glad that the College is appreciative of the immense contribution of the International Medical Graduates to the General Practice”