Monday, August 03, 2009

An invitation to a GMC waltz

Doctors are often invited to GMC Performance Assessment Tests (GMC PATs). These are serious. Three or four assessors "assess" the doctor in his place of work with 10-12, third party witnesses from the employing authority. Pre- and post-interviews sandwich written exams and case-based discussions. You have two weeks to recover before a one-day exam in OSCE's and communication skills with actors and actresses trying to be patients. GMC PATs are difficult to pass. Many doctors who do not "pass" are placed under conditions and suspension; some borderline cases come before the High Court - which is where the arguments begin !

Barristers and judges are not invited to GMC PATs. They know they are difficult; they suspect they are unfair, but they have not had the pleasure of doing an exam to save their livelihood. A full critique requires reference to the statutory framework, invitations to the dance, a chasse across the OSCE floor, and, a waltz through triangulation, validity, comparators and reproducibility whilst feeding ones' "hawks and doves". For next year they re changing the medley to use tunes doctors have never danced to; single best answers (SBA) and extended matching questions (EMQ) - on educational advice, of course.

GMC PATs are the opening salvo of the GMC onslaught. Pass them and you only have IOP and FtP panels to face. If it came to Judicial Review then there would be evidence, expert witnesses, and, findings of fact. Spiking the GMC's biggest guns is a big prize - but who is going to engage these tempting targets ?

Copyright (c) Dr. Liz Miller

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