High Court: GP exam for trainee doctors must not discriminate against minorities

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A High Court judge has ruled that the exam trainee doctors must take to become a GP does not unlawfully discriminate against candidates from ethnic minorities.

The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (Bapio) brought a judicial review against the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) over a segment of their exam in which candidates are assessed on their performance in a mock consultation with an actor playing the patient. The doctors’ regulator the General Medical Council was also included in the claim, which was wholly dismissed.

Pass rates for medical graduates trained overseas have been consistently much lower than for white UK graduates, who also have higher pass rates than black and Asian doctors trained in the UK.

Mr Justice Mitting ruled that the exam was a “proportional” way to assess candidates, but said the claim had been brought in “good faith” and that Bapio had won “if not a legal success, then a moral success”. He said “the time has come” for the RCGP to address the issue, Pulse magazine reported.

Chair of the RCGP Maureen Baker said: “The RCGP has been at the forefront of identifying the differences in pass rates for some time…We have always been, and remain, concerned by this issue, and are determined to continue to work with all other interested stakeholders in both understanding it, and looking to remedy it.”