discrimination2Too many GPs who are trained abroad and come to Britain to work are not getting through their Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) exams because they are being discriminated against, it has been claimed.

The General Medical Council (GMC) is looking into allegations that failure rates for doctors trained outside the UK are “disproportionate”. Similar claims are being made about ethnic minority graduates who are trained in the UK, with 24.4 per cent of black candidates and 17.5 per cent of those of south Asian origin failing the exams but among white candidates the rate is 5.8 per cent.

At the same time, RCGP statistics showed that 65.3 per cent of foreign-trained GPs failed their Clinical Skills Assessment first time around in 2011/12 – but the figure for medical graduates who studied in the UK was just under 10 per cent.

A spokesperson for the RCGP said: “We take equality and diversity issues very seriously and strongly refute any allegations that the exam is discriminatory. Our assessment procedures, which are designed to ensure safe patient practice, have been approved by the General Medical Council as the regulator.”

The GMC’s chief executive Niall Dickson commented: “Where serious questions have been raised, as they have in this case, it is right that we should look at them. The underlying causes for different pass rates among different groups of doctors are likely to be complex, but we are determined to understand the issue.”

The Department of Health would not comment on the matter.