More chances to pass MRCGP

GP trainees could be given more chances to pass the MRCGP following discussions over how to address the high failure rate of international medical graduates.

Under the plans, reported recently in Pulse, trainees could be allowed six attempts at the exam rather than the current four, and greater support would also be given to international trainees.

The issue was discussed at a meeting between the RCGP, the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) and the British International Doctors Association (BIDA).

The move came after official figures showed that, in 2010/11, the failure rate for international graduates taking the clinical skills assessment (CSA) component of the MRCGP was 63 per cent, compared with just nine per cent for UK graduates. While the RCGP has reportedly ruled out offering an alternative to the CSA, the College is said to be keen to continue working with BAPIO to resolve the issue.

A joint statement issued after the meeting stated: “Representatives from the RCGP, BAPIO and BIDA have met to discuss matters of concern relating to differential pass rates in the MRCGP Clinical Skills Assessment. All three parties acknowledged that there were a number of factors contributing to the lower pass rates of candidates with overseas Primary Medical Qualifications.

“The College recognises the seriousness of issues raised and some suggestions for further action have already been agreed. Another meeting will be held in the New Year to review the situation to which a senior representative of COGPED (Committee of GP Education Directors) will also be invited. At that meeting we hope to explore issues in more detail and agree the next steps in the future to support overseas doctors, ensure demonstrably transparent and fair processes and overall help to improve their pass rates in the CSA.”