BME trainees offered extra support to prepare for CSA exam

The RCGP has pledged to help international and black and minority ethnic (BME) trainee doctors to prepare for the CSA exam, after talks on how to make the test fairer for non-white candidates began last week.

Dr Maureen Baker: support for BME GP trainees
Dr Maureen Baker: support for BME GP trainees

The RCGP met representatives from the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) and the British International Doctors Association (BIDA) last week to decide how best to close the gap in pass rates between white and BME and international candidates.

In the ‘positive and productive’ meeting, the three organisations pledged to identify struggling trainees at an earlier stage so they could be provided with better support to prepare for the exam and eventual safe independent practice.

The RCGP revealed plans to develop e-learning resources for CSA preparation, which will be based on sociolinguistic research, and said it would be reviewing how to enhance CSA feedback to candidates.

RCGP chairwoman 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.

RCGP 'looks forward' to further collaboration

‘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.

‘We look forward to working with BAPIO and BIDA in a renewed spirit of collaboration and co-operation.’

Dr Ramesh Mehta, president of BAPIO, previously told GP that BAPIO would be ‘watching over’ the RCGP throughout the next year, and would consider reviving its legal challenge if adequate changes were not made. He described the discussions as ‘fruitful’.

‘We are pleased that the royal college has identified several steps to implement the equality impact assessment,’ he said. ‘We also discussed the issue of those trainees who have been removed from the training and the possibility of them getting back in to 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.’

BAPIO took the RCGP to the High Court in April on the grounds that the CSA exam discriminated against international and BME candidates. The exam was ruled to be lawfully fair, but concerns about the differential pass rates were acknowledged by the judge.

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