RACGP to fully refund all exam candidates affected by outage .

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Acting President Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda details the college response to last week’s cancellation of the KFP and AKT.

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The college has apologised ‘unreservedly’ for cancelling the KFP and AKT.

On behalf of the entire RACGP, we are sorry.

We deeply regret having to cancel both the Key Feature Problem (KFP) exam and Applied Knowledge Test (AKT), and apologise unreservedly for the significant distress and disruption this has caused candidates – many of whom had already experienced a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Full refunds for all candidates will be processed from today (12 October) and we are working to quickly reschedule the exams, which will go ahead this year.

Candidates will also be able to access one free resit of the KFP and one free resit of the AKT within the next 18 months, and any candidate who resits and fails will not have it count towards their exam cap.

To have these exams postponed at the last moment was distressing and left many of our candidates searching for answers.

A preliminary analysis was provided to the RACGP on Monday 12 October and indicates the video conference platform used by the exam provider failed to scale for the number of candidates. The exam provider will be providing a further update to the RACGP this week.

The issues were so severe that we could not be certain of resolving them within a reasonable timeframe, forcing us to make the crushing decision to postpone the KFP and AKT.

More than 1400 candidates were affected by this decision and we appreciate that, as time passed, the understandable stress and frustration that continued to rise was compounded by a vacuum of information.

We could have done more to keep our candidates better informed as the day proceeded, and for that we are also truly sorry.

We can and will do better.

An extensive internal review is already underway, and the Board is committed to an external, independent investigation of the incident. Input from the RACGP National Faculty of GPs in Training will be sought to inform the terms of reference for this investigation.

Our top priority is to ensure that all candidates can continue working toward their Fellowship, and we are doing everything in our power to ensure the proctoring issue is investigated and remediated to prevent it from ever happening again.

GPs in training are the future of Australian general practice. We need to make sure you can complete your training and move on with your career.

With that in mind, I want to assure you that the forthcoming Remote Clinical Exam (RCE) is hosted on a completely different platform. We are also carefully reviewing our overall risk-mitigation strategies for the RCE and will write to all enrolled candidates within the coming days.

To those affected by last week’s postponement, your refunds are already being processed by the college.

The specific dates and format of the rescheduled KFP and AKT will be released as soon as possible. We can confirm the KFP will contain a new set of questions, as some candidates were partway through the initial exam before it was cancelled.

The RACGP will also provide candidates with as much flexibility as possible given the massive disruption that has already been caused as a result of the exam cancellation.

Likewise, where there are visa or other regulatory impacts resulting from the cancellation of the KFP and AKT, we will work directly with candidates to remediate these issues.

More than any other year, 2020 has pushed the boundaries of what we as a profession – and a society as a whole – are capable of. It has forced us to adapt in so many ways and the circumstances created by this unprecedented pandemic will likely continue to challenge us well into the future.

We’re sorry to have added to the stress but are confident in our ability to ward off future issues. We have the utmost faith that our future GPs will overcome this obstacle and continue to display the adaptability, professionalism and care for which our profession is renowned.

If you’d like to speak to someone about how the cancellation has affected you, the RACGP offers and endorses a range of services for doctors’ mental health, including:

  • the GP Support Program – it offers free, confidential, 24/7 access to crisis counselling, and scheduled access to face-to-face or telephone counselling
  • Drs4Drs – a mental health service especially for doctors, including a 24/7 helpline staffed by senior GPs and experienced counsellors trained in doctors’ health
  • The Black Dog Institute’s Essential Network for Health Professionals.
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