Exclusive: CSA judicial review set for court next month

A highly anticipated judicial review into the fairness of the clinical skills assessment (CSA) element of MRCGP exams will be heard at the Royal Courts of Justice next month.

The RCGP said it will ‘vigorously’ defend the allegations over the CSA test
The RCGP said it will ‘vigorously’ defend the allegations over the CSA test

The courts have listed the judicial review launched by the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) for 18 October and the hearing is expected to last two hours.

BAPIO launched the action in March over concerns about the difference in pass rates between international medical graduates and UK graduates.

A total of 65.3% of international medical graduates failed their first attempt at the CSA test in 2011/12, compared with 9.9% of UK graduates, and official data show similar gaps in previous years.

BAPIO solicitors will argue that the variations ‘demonstrate unlawful discrimination under the Equality Act 2010’, and warn that opportunity for bias occurs during face-to-face assessments in which it appears that ‘a physician’s intellectual ability is judged on the basis of how well he/she speaks native English’.

A spokeswoman for the RCGP said the college will ‘vigorously’ defend the allegations.

She said: ‘The CSA has been developed with the aim of ensuring those who meet the standards are fit to practise independently as GPs in the best interests of patient wellbeing and safety.

'We do not think it is appropriate to comment further when we are undergoing legal proceedings which we are defending vigorously.’

In May, LMCs called for the GMC, BMA and RCGP to launch an investigation into the reasons why international medical graduates' pass rates for the MRCGP examination are consistently lower than those of UK graduates.

An independent review into low MRCGP exam pass rates for international medical graduates, commissioned by the GMC in March, has yet to be published after being hit by delays.

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