RANZCP acts on AMA advocacy after cancelled exams

Australian Medical Association

The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists has responded quickly to AMA advocacy over cancelled OSCE trainee exams, offering specific support measures in line with AMA recommendations.

After Saturday’s Objective Structured Clinical Examination was abandoned due to technical problems, AMA President Dr Omar Khorshid wrote to the President and CEO of RANZCP expressing concern at the disruption and impact on 248 trainees sitting the exam.

Based on strategies developed for examination technical failures by the AMA Council of Doctors in Training (CDT), the letter recommended a number of interventions including:

  • a full refund of examination fees,
  • consideration of an alternative assessment mechanism to progress trainees to Fellowship as an immediate priority,
  • transparent and robust contingency planning for future virtual/electronic exams and
  • clear and timely communication with trainees with focused support to prioritise trainee wellbeing and mental health support.

“Clear communications are key in this initial stage of response. We would appreciate an urgent meeting with you to discuss the above and the steps you are taking to resolve this issue so that we can communicate this to our members.

“The AMA is keen to work with the College to resolve trainee and supervisor concerns and to ensure that trainee distress is minimised,” Dr Khorshid’s letter said.

CDT Chair, Dr Hash Abdeen also spoke with the RANZCP President, and has met with multiple trainee groups including the RANZCP Trainee Chairs to offer support and advice.

Dr Abdeen also met with the Australian Medical Council which will also be looking at options to ensure the College’s solutions are both pragmatic and expedient.

“It’s important that trainee well-being is central to any solutions which support progression through training,” Dr Abdeen said.

The AMA said it was “very pleased” with RANZCP’s quick response and commitment to act to help those affected at what is a “very distressing time for all concerned, particularly for registrars who have dedicated so much time to preparing for this exam.”

Given the concerning circumstances of Saturday’s examination technical issues, and several difficulties over the past 12-18 months with other College exams, the AMA will be discussing options to strengthen the provision of examinations via digital exam platforms and contingency planning at with the Council of Presidents of Medical Colleges on 30 November 2021.

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