Use of MSRA for core surgical recruitment

Published on 10 October 2022, by Medical and Dental Recruitment and Selection Service MDRS (UK)

In June 2022, the MDRS Recruitment Group received a proposal from the Core Surgical Training Advisory Committee (CSTAC), part of the Joint Committee on Surgical Training (JCST), requesting permission to implement the Multispecialty Recruitment Assessment (MSRA)  into their selection process for Core Surgical Training from 2023.  The MDRS Recruitment Group membership that considered the proposal had representation from many stakeholder groups, including the BMA Junior Doctors Committee and the Academy Trainee Doctors Group. 

Modelling that showed a good correlation between MSRA scores and core surgical recruitment outcomes was considered and the proposal to use the MSRA and have it contribute to 10% of the final selection score was accepted by the MDRS Recruitment Group in June 2022.   

The MSRA is already used by ten specialties including Neurosurgery and has a number of benefits to applicants:

  • Clinical questions are set at the level of an F2 trainee and are generic in content.  There should be no need for applicants to revise
  • There is no cost to the applicants
  • Free sample content and example questions are provided to applicants sitting the MSRA
  • Availability - the test can be taken at centres around the world or online from home, where test centres are unavailable 

Applications to Core Surgical Training have increased by more than 30% since 2017, with 2302 applications received in 2022.  The volume of applications received makes the traditional process of interviewing all eligible applicants impossible, and with service pressures across all four nations, there is a need to develop selection processes whilst ensuring fairness and quality.  Evidence has shown that self-assessment results in certain groups underscoring themselves; other selection methods are more valid

Due to its successful use in other specialties over a number of years, the MDRS Recruitment Group approved the proposal.  Further refinement of the recruitment proposal was agreed at the September 2022 meeting that allowed self-assessment verification to continue for those that reach the required threshold in the MSRA

Further information relating to the 2023 core surgical recruitment process can be obtained from the following webinars:

11 October 2022 at 6.30pm – 2023 Specialty Recruitment which will cover changes to recruitment across all specialties - watch the webinar.

31 October 2022 at 6.30pm – Rationale for core surgical recruitment 2023 and MSRA process - watch the webinar on YouTube.

2 November 2022 at 6.45pm – Self assessment process and guidance for the portfolio - watch the webinar on YouTube.