Julie Pattinson of CaHRU presented her work on reasons for variations in performance in the MRCGP Applied Knowledge Test at the recent International Medical Graduates’ conference at the Conference Hall, Centre for Medical & Dental Education, Pilgrim Hospital. Speakers included Dr Bijoy Sinha (GP Speciality Training Programme Director, Lincolnshire), Dr Nick Humphry (GP Speciality Training Programme Director, Lincolnshire), Dr Bevis Heap (Programme Director HEE, East Midlands) and Dr Sathya Naidoo (Associate Postgraduate Dean and ARCP Lead for the East Midlands).
The purpose of the meeting was to identify needs of IMGs to help support them in GP training with a specific focus on the trainers’ roles. There were around 50 attendees in total, with the majority of the audience being GP speciality programme directors, vocational training managers, GP trainers and General Practitioner Speciality Training Registrars (GPSTRs). Dr Humphry opened the conference talking about the challenges and opportunities for IMGs in primary care training. This was followed by a talk from Dr Heap, who spoke about the challenges identified for IMGs that are different from those of indigenous graduates. Dr Naidoo spoke about identifying ‘at risk’ GPSTRs and the RCGP iMAP.
Dr Julie Pattinson gave a presentation on ‘Understanding reasons for variation by ethnicity in performance of general practice specialty trainees in the Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners’ Applied Knowledge Test: cognitive interview study’. Her talk was about the differences that exist in candidate performance in high stakes medical licensing examinations, specifically the Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP), between black and minority ethnic (BME) compared to white British doctors. The grounded theory analysis generated insights into reasons for difficulty in answering AKT questions in all participants, but it emerged that overseas trained (OST) participants do face additional difficulties answering AKT questions compared to UKGs and this could provide the basis for developing interventions to reduce differential attainment in UK specialty training for general practice. Feedback from Dr Humphrey following her talk stated ‘There was quite a buzz about it after and it stimulated a lot of conversation. I think our trainers and GPRs will find it useful when considering how to improve success in the AKT.’
During the afternoon session Dr Sinha delivered a talk about IMG in practice and the GPSTRs’ experience. Emphasis was placed on supporting IMGs in speciality training. There was a talk from a scheme graduate how to get the best out of training, understanding examinations and how they may be challenging. Overall the conference was very interactive and group discussions followed each presentation. In the afternoon there were workshops exploring problems and solutions for IMGs.
CaHRU, in conjunction with NHS partners including East Midlands Ambulance Service and Lincolnshire Community Health Services NHS Trusts, held its latest Research Forum of 2016 on 16th November. The forum followed its usual two-hour format with three speakers giving detailed presentations about a study they have been working on and then responding to questions.
The first presentation was from Dr Murray Smith, CaHRU’s health economist and econometrician, who talked about ‘An Economic Feasibility Study on the Fluoridation of Drinking Water in the East Midlands’. This study is being led by NHS Nottingham City on behalf of all nine primary care trusts in the East Midlands. It examined the cost of setting up fluoridation plants, where they would be and the cost of ongoing maintenance. Ultimately, the feasibility study will produce a report for each of the areas covered by the nine participating primary care trusts.
Next was Professor Niro Siriwardena who presented on behalf of Dr Zahid Asghar on their study examining the performance of candidates with dyslexia in the Applied Knowledge Test (ATK) for Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP). A key finding of the study was that there was no evidence of differential attainment in candidates declaring dyslexia compared with those who did not once other candidate attributes such as age, gender, ethnicity and country of primary medical qualification had been accounted for.
Dr Stephanie Armstrong concluded the Research Forum by presenting findings from the Network exploring the Ethics of Ambulance Trials (NEAT) study. This is a Wellcome funded study led by the University of Lincoln and involving a number of other UK, as well as Dutch and Swiss, universities. The study has been running for less than a year but has already achieved an impressive set of outcomes. These include: a systematic review of published randomised controlled trials; a review of global and national regulations; and preliminary results of interviews with expert informants, paramedics and patients who have been involved in ambulance trials.
Julie Pattinson joined the CaHRU team this autumn as a research assistant from the University of Nottingham, Division of Epidemiology and Public Health Research (UK centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies; UKCTAS). She has a keen interest in behavioural addictions and her recent research explored electronic cigarette shops and users across the East Midlands. Julie has recently submitted her PhD, entitled, ‘UK Older Adult Gambling Behaviour; Evaluating Psychological and Physical Health as Predictive Risk Factors for Problem Gambling Behaviour’ at the University of Lincoln.
Julie was awarded £60,000 funding by the Responsible Gambling Trust UK to complete her PhD thesis. She also completed her MSc in Clinical Research (2009-2011) and BSc (Honours) in Psychology with Clinical Psychology (2006-2009) at the University of Lincoln.
Julie has extensive knowledge in quantitative and qualitative methodologies specifically Grounded Theory and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. She is currently is working on research led by Prof Siriwardena exploring the reasons for variations in performance in the Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners (MRCGP) general practice licensing exam, specifically the Applied Knowledge Test (AKT).
A new study from the University of Lincoln and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) Applied Knowledge Test Development Group reveals that women doctors have greater knowledge about women’s medical problems than men doctors during their training to become general practitioners. The study entitled, ‘Comparing performance among male and female candidates in sex- specific clinical knowledge in the MRCGP‘, was published in the British Journal of General Practice this month and is the first to look at sex-specific clinical knowledge in a medical licensing examination. The Applied Knowledge Test is a component of the Membership of the Royal College of General Practitioners, which doctors training to be GPs need to pass to be deemed fit for independent practice.
Many female patients choose to see a woman doctor, because they feel more at ease with their communication style or feel more confident in their knowledge of women’s medicine. This study shows that on average women doctors know more about women’s medicine than men at a similar stage of training and after taking other factors into account – so women may be justified in choosing a woman doctor on this basis. Conversely male doctors in training did not appear to know more about men’s problems.
The reason for this difference is a matter for speculation. Women doctors are much more likely to see more female patients during training and might be encouraged to learn more about women’s problems as a result of this greater exposure as well as through their own personal experience. The implication for GP training schemes is that they should ensure that male GP trainees are enabled to see more women patients or learn more about women’s medicine so that patients consulting male trainees are not disadvantaged.