We are Ex-GP trainee who have been discharged from training because of not completing one or more of the components of MRCGP examination under various circumstances. We are thus not allowed to work as GP even though the country is going through GP crisis and desperate attempts are being sought to import doctors from abroad. Not even that, workforce like physician associates (PAs) are being asked to help out ailing primary care system.

Health Education England (HEE) has initiated the process of paving a way through to bring doctors in our situation into mainline General Practice and I understand that you were asked to provide your input to the Council for this process to evolve under the subject title of “Targeted GP training”.

Currently only four attempts are allowed for candidates to pass their MRCGP examination, failing which the doctor is discharged from the training. A fifth attempt is given in xceptional circumstance on individual case basis. There are two key points which we wish to mention (1) RCGP is the only College which uses their Membership examination as the eligibility criteria and hence unlike any other College is a very high stake examination (2) RCGP is out of sync with any other Colleges in that all other Colleges allow six attempts at their membership examination (not four) and if evidence is provided about ‘further training’, more attempts (theoretically unlimited) may be gained. Despite being a high stake examination, RCGP only provides four attempts.

If the Council May decide to bring RCGP in line with other Colleges and accept HEE’s proposal of “GP Targeted training” to bring doctors like us back in mainstream, the country may gain over a thousand trained GPs. It will also help doctors like us who are very passionate about General Practice to get back to the job we love. When queried, RCGP always use the phrase ‘a small number of doctors fail’. They have never given an exact number. However RCGP does accept that at least 3% trainees are thrown out of the system each year. Every year around 4000 trainees take this examination. 3% means every year 120 doctors come out of training. CSA/AKT examination is in vogue since 2008- meaning there are at least 120 x9 = 1080 (over a thousand) doctors in this situation.

The Government is pushing to bring in around 1000 Physician Associates (PAs) by 2020 and there are rumours that GP training funding is being diverted to fund development of PAs. PAs are not even doctors. RCGP has a resource pool of over a thousand doctors whom they may instead give top up training and bring back in mainstream general practice.

Being a Council member of the College, you are in a strong position to support this process. “Unless you speak in the Council meeting, this process will not happen.”