RACGP to fully refund all exam candidates affected by outage

Ayman Shenouda

12/10/2020 5:40:40 PM

Acting President Associate Professor Ayman Shenouda details the college response to the recent cancellation of the KFP and AKT.

RACGP sign
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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Dr Gardiyawasam Lindamulage Chaminda De Silva   13/10/2020 6:28:53 AM

This is not easy task to compensate for candidates. There are questions to answer
Some candidates took all of their entitle leave to study . What is going to happen when next time . No more leave to study and not only this how the practices will get effect in this situation I was told candidates was asked to sit in front of the computer till answer given and some stayed for 6 hours . This is a human torture
Question is when the failure happened during mock exam did any one look in to this .
Did RACGP used overseas cheap server.
As other exams Like GAMSAT had much more number of candidates but ran smoothly
Everybody who is responsible for this should resign as this is a disgrace for the RACGP

Dr Nicole Jayne Higgins   13/10/2020 7:37:21 AM

Thank you. These are very important words.
I understand the angst and hurt of candidates and I believe this is the best possible outcome.
As a supervisor, my practice team and I are supporting our 2 registrars with compassion and understanding.
The legacy for the college will be to ensure that the RACGP is seen as a responsive, inclusive and compassionate.
It is a difficult time for GP training. Those of us involved in training the next generation of family doctors, will continue to work hard to ensure that general practice is seen as a great career option.

Dr James Courts   13/10/2020 7:49:57 AM

I think the RACGP can still do better;

Refund the exam costs.
Provide the next exam for free - at cost to the RACGP.
Refund membership fees for those affected this year.

Dr Raymond Mohsen Anwar Fam   13/10/2020 7:59:14 AM

You said that you will also try to remediate the impacts of this cancelation, i am on SAPP and will finish soon . The RACGP will provide me with a letter of support to have extension until i can finish my exam?
I wish there is a communication channel between the RACGP and the ministry of health to consider this incident and give us some extension.

Dr Mazin Amir   13/10/2020 8:18:58 AM

Thank you for apology but this NOT enough at all,This KFP exam need to skip .Ifail this KFP few times and My life is on Hold for this KFP and My AKT that I passed 3 years ago will finished end of this year that mean I need to do both next year .I had enough from this exam stress me out and stress my family I'm sure a lot of Gp share me this greive ,plus the enormous stress during the day of exam I Spent around 100000$ doing this exam and preparing ,time off,cost of exam and courses ,away from my kid and family PLUS I am on SAAP program will have no job in less than one one as 19AA refused to extend to stay on the post.If you have one of your relative on the same situation will you be enough for refund only .I am sure RACGP will think twice about us we are Human being and NOT robot .I think and many GP think refund is NOT enough especially GP in my situation who work in the system the last 20 years and done Multiple attempts.Please consider not on ONLY MONEY WISE BUT ON HUMAN WISE

Dr Gardiyawasam Lindamulage Chaminda De Silva   13/10/2020 8:32:54 AM

Thank you for the reply . I am not angry but we have to be accountable. I consider RACGP is one of reputable organization in Australia .We cannot loose that reputation at any cost .As members of RACGP we are hurt that this happened in our esteemed organisation . But we trust that RACGP will do the right thing
Also please consider practice base assessment for those who effected as that will alleviate the anxiety of sitting the exam again and facing similar situation

Dr Allan Stanley Grogan   13/10/2020 9:41:11 AM

The exam platform chosen was unstable and unfit for purpose when used in exam venues, with problems in at least Cairns and Ballarat in the last 2 years. And the language used by your corporate lawyers is the same as the language you're using now. Then you try to take it a step further and it didn't work in the mock exams. Then some genius in your college signed off that we were all set to go on Friday. This is a pattern of registrar abuse and lack of accountability. You should resign

Dr Mybol Thabet Sous   13/10/2020 10:21:21 PM

Thank you for what you have done for us but refund is something expected to be done automatically. That should be normal response, imagine if you paid for a service or something but you have not got it... you should get paid back automatically.
We actually have lost much more than the exam fees, we've lost time off work (6-8 weeks), we've lost cost of courses here and there, we have bought better computers and internet , we've lost a lot of money for many many things. Actually each exam cost every one around $ 50,000-60,000 plus the severe stress to us and our families.
We don't care about refund , we need to skip this exam (KFP) and proceed straight away to RCE. This exam affected every one very much. What if someone could not sit the RCE specially it will ends by 2021 ? . Please think about it. It's not fair, everyone got severely affected by this disaster.
Our and our families' lives is on hold because of this exam. We are human being.

Dr Gary Villamayor   16/10/2020 3:30:08 AM

I am shocked after reading news from the Medical Republic of what happened with the 6 million dollars after the failed exams. Is RACGP is a world-class profit earning organization victimizing on me a, GP registrar ? Unfortunately, they didn't profit this time because they promised to refund. THAT IS NOT ENOUGH. Our government should get involved in the inquiry. I'm just curious how much RACGP profits every year for the last 10 years. There should be accountability for the huge mess that incurred, current CEO and all board members has a moral obligation to resign for transparency with the forthcoming investigation. RACGP should hear out all the grievances of the victims and families of this failed exam. Lastly , my apology if I am a bit rude...not my intention .. I am just angry.

Dr William Raymond McNeil OAM   17/10/2020 6:45:46 AM

This college - which is we Fellows- must meet the suffering of our future. The whole board must fall on its sword. No less. There must be an complete and unconditional show of atonement. This generation of candidates is entitled to that level of Contrition and validation. Suicide is a real result of this disaster. Can the College executive present at any candidates funeral who dies from suicide after this? We will be there- the supervisors, the workmates. Would they be welcome ? Resign. Your polished political career is not worth one candidate’s life.

Dr Nicolette Van Zyl   19/10/2020 6:46:34 AM

I do wish the RACGP will seriously review their exam rules and guidelines following this disaster. Although I understand they did not mean for this to happen, I find it distressing just to think about the amount of lives they have affected (not just us candidates, but all of our families as well). Having failed my first AKT and KFP by 0.4% and appealing for at least some sort of resit exam with half the amount of questions just so I can proceed to the clinical, I was categorically told that I have to redo the entire exam and off course I got redirected to the Doctor's Mental Health websites, so I can speak to someone about my problems... I realised then that there really is no appeal process at RACGP. The irony is not lost on me that I run an entire emergency department at night (in a rural location as a GP with emergency experience) but yet I am not good enough to have a review of my exam or at least move on to the clinical to prove that I do know what I am doing. And now this.