A study on, ‘The effect of specific learning difficulties on general practice written and clinical assessments‘ published in the journal Medical Education was highly commended in the RCGP Research Paper of the Year awards this year for papers published in 2022. The study, led by Dr Vanessa Botan, with Profs Niro Siriwardena and Graham Law from CaHRU and Dr Nicki Williams from the GP National Recruitment Office, in collaboration with the Royal College of General Practitioners.
The paper studied doctors with specific learning difficulties and differences, most commonly dyslexia, affecting 10-20% of GP trainees and found that they, with reasonable adjustments in place, performed no differently in the computer marked multiple choice Applied Knowledge Test or the Recorded Consultation Assessment, but did significantly worse in the Clinical Skills Assessment and Workplace Based Assessment, which together constitute the MRCGP licensing test for general practice.
The study concluded that candidates with specific learning difficulties do encounter challenges in multiple domains of the GP licencing tests and during their training, suggesting that more adjustments tailored to their needs should be put in place for the applied clinical skills tests and during their training. This has been the subject of a further interview study that has just been completed and is in peer review. Dr Botan was promoted to a lecturer in psychology post at Nottingham Trent University where she now works.