Why MRCGP International Membership?

The passing of a MRCGP[INT] examination enables you to become a MRCGP[INT] member, providing evidence your accredited examination is equivalent in academic rigor to the MRCGP assessment in the UK.

Successful completion of the exam will also enable you to use post nominal MRCGP][INT].

Each MRCGP[INT] examination is suitable for those candidates who plan to work in the country in which they sit the exam. They are locally developed and locally relevant, reflecting local epidemiology and medical practices.

The MRCGP[INT] offers an appropriate model

The RCGP has been well aware of the need for high quality postgraduate assessments to be developed in different parts of the world, tailored to local culture, practice, educational, and health systems. The fundamental reason for the development of MRCGP[INT] and the creation of a new category of International Member, is to support the development of general practice/family medicine [FM] world-wide.

Each participating site develops its own examination. Through a system of development advisors the RCGP supports the local overarching curriculum review process, in particular: the assessment matrix design; the examination blueprint; the test writing, examiner and simulated patient training; standard setting processes; examination conduct; psychometric review and performance of all aspects of the local examination.

The MRCGP[INT] accreditation does not confer the right to practice in the UK and may be in addition to the qualification awarded by the relevant national bodies.

The examination package of each accredited MRCGP[INT] site will be somewhat different, reflecting contextual aspects. For some countries, MRCGP[INT] provides a conjoint accreditation of the local examination, normally at the end of speciality training and is thus a licensing and certification examination. In other sites, such as in Dubai, the examination is also open to primary care physicians working in that region who fulfil the entry requirements, but who have no other opportunity to demonstrate their competence and quality.

In the South Asia region, where FM is fragmented and at an early stage of development, no one country has the infrastructure or political support to develop such an overarching examination. However, academic and national association leads have, with the catalytic support from the RCGP, been able to transcend political and logistical barriers and have together
developed an examination which confers no other award than an internationally recognised marker of quality and competence as a Family Doctor in the context of South Asia.

Contrary to the concerns raised in the debate, the MRCGP[INT] is context specific, with the various county and regional reports demonstrating that approximately two thirds of the curriculum for General Practice, or Family Medicine as it more widely termed internationally, is recognisable in whatever country we consider, but about a third is very different. A fundamental principle being the incorporation of local epidemiology into examination blueprints.

The UK has much to learn from our colleagues overseas, which has very significant implications in many aspects of globalisation and the doctor patient interactions, for example, a better understanding and respect for cultural differences.

Our colleagues overseas have highly valued the probity of the RCGP and its refusal to collude with practices that breach human rights, such as genital mutilation for women and the profile and treatment of mental Illness. They recognise that assessment drives more than just learning, but also can act as an agent and advocate for such change.

International membership of the RCGP confers the same rights and responsibilities for UK members apart from less relevant UK centred voting. Relationships are now being established, a commonwealth of like minded colleagues is being established worldwide and the new members rightly ask questions such as “what can the RCGP do for us now?”. The RCGP has responded by a fundamental review of its international policy and has published a 10 year strategy review, placing its work internationally at the very heart of all UK centric developments. The purpose is to support appropriate academic GP/ FM developments as requested, promoting life long learning and enduring relationships and exchanges.

The debate reminds us that our colleagues overseas, are working in less fortunate circumstances than we in the UK. The debate rightly highlights the role of recommencing Royal College examinations in signalling a return to normality in post conflict countries. This was considered to be a priority in Iraq, where primary health care is unstructured, very weak and the concept of Family Medicine very new and misunderstood. The RCGP, with the assistance of sister MRCGP[INT] sites in the Middle East, anticipate commencing a programme to assist the primary health care system developments, in parallel with those to reconstruct Nurse training and professional development with the Royal College of Nursing and UK higher education institutions.

Source : RCGP, BMJ

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