It has been an interesting and enjoyable five years with candidate numbers continuing to grow substantially around the world. I have been particularly pleased that we have reduced the cost of some of our examinations, developed new examinations for European specialists, and taken MRCP(UK) into new partner countries, including the USA. The clinical examination remains a great strength and I hope that the changes made in the PACES 2020 project will maintain its relevance and continue to drive the acquisition of core bedside skills.
Another highlight has been the collaboration between MRCP(UK) and JRCPTB, ably led by Professor David Black, particularly around the new curriculum for internal medicine, and in the introduction of UK style training in international centres, and our work with BAPIO on equality and diversity and differential attainment in UK training and assessment.
My tenure has not been without challenges. In particular I am concerned about the continuing threat to validity posed by academic dishonesty – from simple plagiarism in the examination hall, to question theft, diploma forgery and other forms of fraud – sometimes using new ‘high-tech’ methods. We have robust mechanisms in place to detect dishonesty, but must remain vigilant if we are to protect patients, and ensure that the MRCP(UK) diploma is awarded only to those who have met the required standard.
There are too many people who deserve thanks to be individually named here – the staff in Central Office in London and the examination offices in Edinburgh and Glasgow; administrative staff in our international centres; our lay representatives; my four Associate Medical Directors and the multitude of other clinicians all around the world who give their time to write questions, standard-set, support Boards and act as clinical examiners. As Fellows or Members of each of the three UK Colleges, they all believe that high-stakes examinations can not only drive learning in ways that improve patient care, but provide the simplest, clearest and strongest representation of the primary goal of their Colleges – to set high standards.
MRCP(UK) examinations require substantial clinical and non-clinical time and financial resource to develop and deliver, and without close and coordinated work between the three Colleges, and increasing inward investment, it will be extremely difficult to sustain their currency, global reach and deservedly high academic reputation. I wish all those now charged with that responsibility all the very best in this important task.
Professor Andrew Elder
Medical Director, MRCP(UK)