"Success rates are so poor that medical associations want doctors to be allowed six attempts at passing the tests rather than the current four," report said.
The findings raise fears that trainee medics, mainly from
India, Pakistan and Nigeria, are not suitably qualified to treat patients despite spending three years working for the National Health Service (NHS) before taking the exam.
Until they pass the exams, which qualify them to practise independently as hospital physicians or GPs, trainees continue to see patients -- under supervision -- in placements at hospitals and general practitioner (GP) surgeries.
However, figures show that foreign doctors are substantially more likely to fail than UK graduates, with communication cited as one of the problems.
While just nine per cent of British doctors fail to pass the knowledge and practical exams, more than 63 per cent of foreign doctors do not reach the standard to pass.
Foreign medical associations are now demanding that doctors are given two additional opportunities to pass the tests amid claims that examiners may be discriminating against non-UK graduates, the report said.
However, their claims have been refuted by leading UK specialists who say a recent study showed "no substantial effects of gender or ethnicity on examiner/candidate interactions", and that passing the exams is dependent on having the appropriate skills.
"This is scandalous. If a doctor can go on failing they shouldn't be treating patients in the NHS and that should be stopped," Joyce Robins, co-director of campaign group Patient Concern, said.
"There has to be a cut-off point and four attempts is too many," he said.
"Any attempt to make it easier for doctors to pass these tough exams must be resisted," Shadow Health Minister Andrew Gwynne said.
Figures show that 63 per cent of foreign doctors failed the test, with communication one of the main problems.
Of the Indian doctors taking the test, 63 per cent failed at the first attempt. For those from Pakistan, there was a 62 per cent failure rate, while 68 per cent of Nigerian doctors failed at the first try.
"There is a very robust system of selection to get on to NHS training in the first place," Dr Ramesh Mehta, president of The British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (BAPIO), saying the exam system was "faulty".
Dr Sabyasachi Sarker, president of the British International Doctors Association, said: "Four attempts is just too low -- although we want to extend it to six for all doctors, not just those who are foreign."
Why there is no reservation for poor and backwards In UK? All these doctors will qualify under minority quota In UK, The country UK is backward in adopting democracy. They should have regional language doctors too. Why the UK politicians dont divide UK on religion and minority? Because of UK problems the Indians and pakistanis are suffering. Give quota to them . send mayawati, mulayam and sonia to UK parliament
Why there is no reservation for poor and backwards? All these doctors will qualify under minority quota, The country is backward in adopting democracy. They should have regional language doctors too. Why the politicians dont divide the nation on religion and minority? Because of their problem the Indians and pakistanis are suffering. Give quota to them . send mayawati, mulayam and sonia to their parliament
It is not surprise that Indian doctors fail as students can get admitted to several Indian Universities if they pay money. IIT is also Indian but has a great reputation for its outstanding high level graduates. Several new countries in Asia including Singapore and Malaysia has prospered well but India had failed miserably due to political mockery and corruption.
Well, the policy of giving medical degrees to all comers is backfiring.The foolish thing would be to accuse British authorities of bias.After all SriLankans and Malaysians are doing OK.Another idiocy would be to try and persuade the examiners to be lenient as these dunderheads will find it difficult to go back and practice in Daryagunj, Delhi.Thank God our engineers metamorphose into IT walas even if only the data entry clerks !
to my knowledge most of the indian docs pass the initial theory and mcq stage of the exams on the first attempt. the problem arises in clinicals where apart from your clinical skills , communication and empathy towards a pt is expected. to show empathy in a language other than your mother toungue needs good practise. its here more efforts are needed
Clearly, the preparation for doctors in India, Pakistan and Nigeria is not at par with doctors training in the UK. BAPIO would do well to implement programs to help their members show a passing rate equal to I not better than UK-born doctors. By requesting additional opportunities to pas the exam you are perpetuating weakenesses. Focus should be on removing causes of those weaknesses.