The BMA is to provide support for a judicial review into the disparity between GP exam pass rates.
The association will collect evidence from doctors about their experience of taking the CSA (clinical skills assessment), the practical part of the membership of the RCGP (Royal College of GPs) exam.
Individual doctors will also be asked to submit their own statements about taking the CSA as part of BMA’s plans to assist BAPIO (the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin) with its high court action.
The decision for the association to provide assistance was made at a meeting this week between BMA council chair Mark Porter and BAPIO president Ramesh Mehta.
BAPIO has been granted permission for a judicial review into the differential pass rates for different BME (black and minority ethnic) groups of doctors for the CSA part of the exam, where doctors are assessed in a mock surgery, using actors as patients.
Impact of results
A high court judge last week ruled the GMC should be included as a defendant in the case, along with the RCGP.
GPC GP trainees subcommittee chair Krishna Kasaraneni said: ‘The BMA has had a very positive and constructive meeting with BAPIO today about [its] CSA legal case.
‘Following our discussions, the BMA plans to draft an impact statement which can form a part of BAPIO’s evidence in its judicial review case. We will also be asking our members to submit their own individual impact statements detailing how they have been affected by the CSA exam.
‘In the next few weeks we will continue to discuss how we can further support BAPIO.
‘The profession and the public need to have confidence in the way exams are run and our members should be confident that competition is fair. If there is a risk of bias, measures must be taken to address this.’
Dr Mehta said: ‘We had a useful meeting with [Dr Porter]. This meeting was at his invitation and we are pleased that the BMA is very keen to support our judicial review, and we are also pleased that the BMA is offering all possible assistance in the case.
‘We will keep in close touch with the BMA and we will have regular meetings.’
There has been ongoing concern over the disparity in pass rates and last month an independent review into the issue, commissioned by the GMC, found BME graduates trained in the UK were three times more likely to fail the CSA than their white UK colleagues. International medical graduates from BME backgrounds were 15 times more likely to fail the CSA than their white colleagues, the research revealed
The high court heard last week that 50 individual doctors have launched employment tribunal claims of direct or indirect discrimination over the CSA.
The judicial review is not likely to be heard until the new year.
Read more about BAPIO’s work on this issue
The story so far