College statement on MRCGP assessment

Publication date: 03 August 2017

In response to an article in Pulse today on differential attainment in the Clinical Skills Assessment, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"The purpose of the MRCGP assessment is to ensure GPs meet the highest standards to deliver safe patient care. We are confident that it is a robust assessment of a GP trainee's clinical knowledge and communication skills – both of which are essential in order to practise independently and safely as a GP in the UK.

"The College has always been transparent about and committed to addressing differential pass rates between candidates taking the MRCGP, based on all protected characteristics. We were the first medical royal college to identify differential pass rates between white and BME medical graduates; something that is consistently an issue for UK postgraduate assessments across medicine.

"To address this we are working closely with organisations, including BAPIO and BIDA to support International Medical Graduate trainees, and working with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges to produce relevant guidance for trainers and assessors. We have also continued to develop resources and educational events to support trainers and trainees in their AKT and CSA preparation, and in August 2016 we introduced an exceptional fifth attempt at either the AKT or CSA, on the basis of additional educational attainment.

"Small, annual variations for different cohorts of trainees taking both the AKT and CSA components of the MRCGP assessment for the first time are to be expected. More useful as a measure of progress are long term statistical trends, and the data the College has presented in our latest MRCGP Annual Report. This calculates fail rates according to Primary Medical Qualification and ethnicity over the period 2010-2016 and does show small but sustained improvement in differential pass rates of both the AKT and CSA between UK and International Medical Graduates since 2014.

"The College will continue to work closely with the GMC and we will be aligning our curriculum and assessments to their new 'Excellence by design' standards which have fairness as a guiding principle. We are also undertaking a 10-year review of the MRCGP to ensure that it continues to be a world class, robust and fair licensing assessment."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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