Recorded assessment to replace CSA test for GP trainees

GP trainees will be able to submit video or audio recordings of consultations to complete CSA exams under plans to help doctors complete specialty training during the COVID-19 pandemic.

CSA to use video and audio recordings (Photo: Tarik Kizilkaya/Getty Images)
CSA to use video and audio recordings (Photo: Tarik Kizilkaya/Getty Images)

A joint letter from health education authorities across the UK, along with the RCGP, BMA and GMC says the applied knowledge test (AKT) part of exams will resume at test centres from July 'with appropriate social distancing safeguards in place'.

However, acknowledging concerns that trainees could not travel safely to complete their clinical skills assessment (CSA) exams at the RCGP's London headquarters this summer because of the ongoing pandemic, alternatives have been developed for this part of the test.

The joint letter confirms: 'We have agreed that an alternative temporary assessment, to meet the standards of the CSA component of the MRCGP should be developed to enable you to have the opportunity to gain the full MRCGP in the time available.

'The CSA exam will not be run during this timeframe. A "recorded assessment" is to be developed, which will enable you to submit video or audio recordings of consultations, recognising that many consultations are now remote.

Video assessment

'RCGP and GP training educator colleagues are rapidly working on details of this assessment, building on experience with the former MRCGP video assessment, to enable submission of this temporary solution to the GMC for consideration of approval. We are also working together on ensuring the secure transfer and handling of these recorded consultations.'

The letter confirms that education authorities are working on how to resume education sessions for trainees 'with a focus on current models of consulting and preparation for these assessments'.

It adds: 'We recognise that no solution will please everybody but believe these changes are deliverable and will help as many colleagues as possible to complete their training on time. We would like to thank you for all that you are doing to support patient care during this time and to offer our continued support to you.'

The RCGP announced in mid-March that all exams had been cancelled indefinitely, with trainees scheduled to take exams later that month told to cancel plans to travel to London to take the assessment.

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