UKMLA What will be in the clinical and professional skills assessment (CPSAs)

What will be in the Clinical Skills and Professionalism Assessment (CPSA)?

The UKMLA will be made up of the an applied knowledge test (AKT) and the clinical and professional skills assessment (CPSA). The first live run will be no later than 2022.

The current plans are as follows:

  • The AKT will be a common exam sat by all candidates
  • The CPSAs will be examined individually by medical schools for UK graduates and by the GMC for international medical graduates.

In the future the GMC hope that the CPSAs will be common to all candidates but this will be implemented at a later date due to logistical, practical and financial challenges that are unlikely to be addressed in the given time-frame.

Why has this decision been made about the CPSA?

The GMC state that there is currently a lot of variation in how clinical skills assessments are designed and delivered in UK medical schools.

There are no common guidelines and standards for practical assessments to date

In light of these findings (data was collected from current UK medical schools data and the UK Medical Education Data base project UKMED – read about this here) the GMC have commissioned research to identify good practice in assessing doctors clinical and professional competence. This research will support the development of the MLA and the outcomes will inform the future of the CPSAs

Once the unknowns have been clarified the GMC will decide whether the initial CPSA model will remain or whether there will be a common CPSA sat by all candidates. This decision will be implemented beyond 2022.

Regardless of the future of the how the CPSAs will be delivered and assessed the development of the UKMLA will encourage more consistency between university assessment of clinical and professional skills. So CPSAs should be more uniform in terms of number and length of stations, station design, examiner recruitment and training and approach to standard setting.

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