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Communication and record skills to be assessed

GPs will be assessed on their communication and record-keeping skills under RCGP plans for revalidation, and will be expected to follow some set educational modules.

Professor Mayur Lakhani, RCGP chair, highlighted the areas the college considers crucial in the regulation of GPs at a conference on appraisal and assessment last week.

The college has been tasked with producing the specialist 'recertification' strand of revalidation, as outlined in last month's white paper on regulation.

Professor Lakhani said revalidation must include an evaluation of doctors' communication and consultation skills, the quality of their record-keeping, and evidence that they are keeping up to date.

'We need measurement in continuing professional development standards for signing off and maintaining good medical practice,' he said.'I think we should go for more prescription in learning. I can see a bit more direction in CPD. I think people are comfortable with that.'

Professor Lakhani indicated that some elements of CPD might be dictated by the college, with GPs allowed to select others themselves.

His comments came as he made the case for an appraisal process that was both summative and formative in the relicensing strand of revalidation.

He said: 'It has been argued that the formative process can't be mixed with the summative process. I think that's an extreme position and we should try to move people from extreme positions.'Professor Lakhani said educationalists had told him a mixture of both functions might be acceptable, provided the design was adequate.

'Confidentiality is an important part of appraisal,' he emphasised, 'but not if it leads to the hiding of poor performance.'Professor Lakhani urged appraisers who had concerns and were thinking about resigning not to make judgments yet.

'We need a culture shift. Educationalists, assessors and learners must not see themselves as separate tribes as if we're in competition with each other, but come together as a community focused on improving standards of care,' he said.

'If you want to be revalidated, who better to do it than your peers. If you don't believe that, then you're saying "We want the state or someone else to do revalidation".'

Dr Malcolm Lewis, director of postgraduate GP education for Wales, said there was likely to be duplicated effort for little benefit after changes to the GMC's previous proposals that GPs working in 'approved environments' would need less scrutiny.

'It duplicates for the people who least need the double effect,' he said. 'We might be able to show in the next few years it doesn't add value.'

Crucial areas for assessing GPsCrucial areas for assessing GPs Crucial areas for assessing GPs

• Communication and record-keeping skills to be assessed
• More prescriptive CPD with prescribed models dictated by the college

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