A comparison of performances of consultant surgeons, NCHDs and medical students in a modified HPAT examination.
Following the implementation of the Fottrell report, entry to medical school in Ireland has undergone significant change. Medical school studentship is now awarded based on a combination of points obtained from the final examination of Irish secondary schools (the leaving certificate) combined with HPAT scores (Health Professions Admissions Test). The HPAT is designed to test a candidate's knowledge in several different fields including problem solving skills, logical and non verbal reasoning. A sample HPAT was administered to a test group composed of consultant surgeons, non consultant hospital doctors, and medical students. Statistical analysis was performed and no significant difference was found between the performances of the groups. This is surprising as it was expected that groups with greater experience at medical problem solving would have translated to higher scores. This exposes a flaw within the HPAT system and a potential weakness in the process of doctor selection.