R (BAPIO) v Royal College of General Practitioners & General Medical Council [2014] EWHC 1416 (Admin)

Date

10 April 2014

Link to judgment

http://www.rcgp.org.uk/news/2014/may/~/media/Files/News/Judicial-Review-Judgment-14-April-2014.ashx

Discrimination ground

Race

Summary of case

The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO) sought to challenge by way of judicial review the lawfulness of the continuing adoption and application of the Clinical Skills Assessment (CSA) by the first defendant Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) as assessors and the second defendant General Medical Council as regulators. The CSA was the test which GPs must ultimately pass in order to practice unsupervised. Doctors rarely fail the CSA but of the 133 who did between 2007 and 2012, 120 were foreign graduates. A smaller proportion of BME and South Asian doctors passed, than those who described themselves as ‘white’. The Claimants argued that the Respondent had not discharged its Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED) in ‘doing nothing’ to redress this state of affairs. The Respondent had begun to consider the ways in which the apparent disparity could be addressed but had not (yet) acted. Since 2012 no Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) or Equality Assessment (EA) had been completed.

Outcome

Mitting J held that there was no breach of the PSED at the time of the claim. Were the regulators not to address the issue ‘very soon’ they may be in breach, but as at the date of the claim, there was no breach. The lack of an EA/ EIA was not fatal. Further, the requirement to pass the CSA had not been unlawfully racially discriminatory either directly or indirectly.