GP Assessment Study Secures Prestigious Research Award

 posted by | 04/07/2022

A study examining a recently introduced assessment for General Practitioners has been awarded Research Paper of the Year for Medical Education by the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP).

Authored by a team from the University of Lincoln, UK, the paper looks at the Recorded Consultation Assessment (RCA) – a newly introduced element of the GP licensing process brought in to address challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The RCA utilises recorded real-patient consultations and replaces the Clinical Skills Assessment, usually undertaken at a test centre, and as such reduces the risk of Covid-19 infection amongst candidates, examiners, and patients/ simulators.

The study examined the perception of the RCA by candidates undertaking the assessment and whether it represents a good alternative to the Clinical Skills Assessment.

The research team – which also included academics from the University of Cambridge, the University of Exeter, and the RCGP – found the RCA to be broadly acceptable amongst candidates and a feasible alternative to the Clinical Skills Assessment.

The paper also identified areas for improvement, including extending the consultation time to 12 minutes; addressing the difficulties reported by candidates in selecting cases, which was found to be especially prevalent in smaller practices, or those where there were more patients with socioeconomic deprivation or language barriers. This recommendation, along with others identified by Dr Botan and the team, has now been implemented.

The RCGP’s Paper of the Year Award recognises that the ‘exceptional’ research undertaken by the team, and, as part of the award, Dr Vanessa Botan, Post-Doctoral Research Associate in Medical Statistics at the University of Lincoln and one of the paper’s authors, was also invited to present the paper at the recent WONCA Europe Conference.

Speaking about the Award on behalf of the research team, Dr Botan said: “We are delighted to have received the RCGP Research Paper of the Year Award for Medical Education. We are very grateful to RCGP for recognising the importance of our research which has had an impact on reshaping GP clinical assessments during these challenging times of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We were pleased to confirm the overall feasibility and acceptability of the new RCA and, most importantly, to see that adjustments have already been made based on our findings and candidates’ feedback.”