Sign up now for ease of access to The Medical Independent, Ireland’s most frequently published medical newspaper, delivering award-winning news and investigative reporting.

  • receive the eCopy two days prior to the printed edition.
  • can partake in our online MCQs.
  • can enter our online sports quiz. is Ireland's only investigative medical news website for doctors, healthcare professionals and anyone with an interest in health issues.

Established in 2010, along with its sister publication The Medical Independent, our stated aim is to investigate and analyse the major issues affecting healthcare and the medical profession in Ireland. The Medical Independent has won a number of awards for its investigative journalism, and its stories are frequently picked up by national digital, broadcast and print media. The Medical Independent is published by GreenCross Publishing.

Address: Top Floor, 111 Rathmines Road Lr, Dublin 6

Tel: 353 (01) 441 0024

GreenCross Publishing is owned by Graham Cooke.

Medical schools express HPAT concerns

By Mindo - 10th Jan 2018 | 49 views

Last July, senior figures from the six Irish medical schools met with Minister Mitchell O’Connor to voice “concerns” about the “range of competencies tested by HPAT and their appropriateness to evaluate all of the skills required by a medical professional”. They also expressed disquiet “that they have no academic control or clinical input” into content, according to meeting minutes obtained from the DES following a Freedom of Information (FoI) request.

The meeting was attended by the Chair of the Irish Medical Schools Council and Head of UCD School of Medicine, Prof Patrick Murray, and the heads or senior representatives from the other five Irish medical schools.

Multiple assessment mechanisms should be considered, including “mini-interviews”, to test for competencies required of doctors “which HPAT may not assess”, said the representatives.

The “commercialisation” of HPAT was also discussed, including the cost of taking and repeating the exam. The fee for this year is €135.

According to a separate Department briefing document, the Irish Universities Association (IUA) indicated that the heads of medical schools were increasingly moving to a collective opinion that HPAT was no longer fit-for purpose. The document also noted research published in September 2017, which found no clear link between scores on HPAT, which is designed to assess several skill domains including interpersonal skills, and scores on a psychometric measure of empathy at any point during medical education.

An IUA spokesperson said that a research group established by the medical schools had identified or confirmed a number of issues. 

The ongoing use and potential alternatives to HPAT is on the agenda of the IUA Task Group for the Reform of University Selection and Entry.

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), which runs HPAT, has defended the test, noting that the second section focuses on interpersonal understanding rather than assessing overall empathy.

Just under 3,000 people did the test in Ireland in 2017.

Leave a Reply

Latest Issue
medical news
The Medical Independent 19th May 2022

You need to be logged in to access this content. Please login or sign up using the links below.

Most Read