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City pips others to host top doc test

Forty-five physicians from across south Asia are taking a test in Calcutta for a permit to treat patients across the world.

The clinical part of the examination for Membership of the Royal Colleges of Physicians (MRCP) is being held in the city for the first time.

In India, the first clinical examination for MRCP was held in Chennai in 2007. “We wanted to geographically spread the examination centres and so looked for places in other parts of India,” Lawrence McAlpine, the chairman of MRCP international examinations, told Metro on Monday.

“We had also surveyed the examination facilities in Delhi and Mumbai but found Calcutta’s to be better. Also, there are adequate qualified doctors in Calcutta who can act as local examiners,” McAlpine pointed out.

McAlpine is leading a six-member examiners’ team that has come down to Calcutta from the UK.

The three-day test started on Monday and is being held at Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals following an MoU signed by the Bypass facility and the authorities of the UK-based royal colleges.

“The 45 doctors appearing for the clinical test became eligible for it after clearing two written exams,” said Debasis Ghosh, the chief federation examiner for MRCP in India.

Apart from Bengal and other parts of India, doctors from Myanmar, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are taking the examination.

One has to be a Fellow of Royal Colleges of Physicians (FRCP) to become an examiner.

Sources said Calcutta’s geographical proximity to several SAARC countries was also one of the reasons for the MRCP authorities to choose Calcutta. “In March we conducted a survey and finalised Calcutta,” said McAlpine.

Doctors said this would be of a great convenience for specialist doctors who earlier had to travel to the UK for taking the examinations. “Every year, 100 odd doctors from the eastern region take the examinations and on an average 20 become eligible for the clinical examinations part,” said one of the examiners.

A doctor would have to spend approximately Rs one lakh, including a return air fare, to stay for more than a month in the UK for the membership examinations. This would be in addition to the examinations fees.

The three Royal College of Physicians, London and Edinburgh, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow share a common membership examination in general medicine.

“Successful candidates are eligible to practice in 29 countries after registering themselves with the medical council of a particular country,” said Rabin Chakraborty, FRCP and one of the examiners.

“The examiners were satisfied with the facilities here as Apollo Gleneagles Calcutta holds several post graduate degree and diploma examinations throughout the year,” he said.

During the clinical examinations, each doctor would examine five patients in various cycles. Patients of Apollo were brought to the examination rooms after they gave their consents.

“They are evaluated in several scales including physical examination of a patient, communication, diagnosis and treatment management,” said Debasis Ghosh.

However, scale G is the most important hurdle of the examination.

“In this scale, it is seen whether the examinee is causing physical or mental distress to a patient during examinations. If any distress is caused, then the examinee fails the test despite being successful in all other rounds,” McAlpine informed.