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Getting revalidation right will be tough, but we can do it

I am one of the candidates to replace Professor David Haslam as RCGP president.

The college has been through many painful NHS reorganisations and professional uncertainties - and emerged stronger. We are at a crossroads again. Much has been made of the revalidation plans, with claims they will divide the profession and drive the grassroots from the college.

Any change is difficult and requires patience and determination. GPs have lived with change since the NHS's inception. As a profession we have proved resilient and resourceful in achieving what appeared impossible. Revalidation is no different.

We will get there and make it meaningful, feasible, and the hallmark of highest quality general practice. Let's not despair, but work towards influencing and supporting the college in producing a template that will be the envy of the world.

I won't claim the path to achieving pragmatic revalidation is going to be easy.

There are some great challenges ahead including accommodating sessional GPs, GPs in small practices, rural GPs, academic GPs, GPs with portfolio careers and independent GPs. It will also be a challenge to secure resources for appraisal and remediation.

The college is aware of these challenges and under Professor Steve Field's leadership is on a path to tackle them. I am leading in formulating proposals on remediation.

I believe revalidation without remediation would divide the profession and in some cases destroy careers.

If elected president, I would support policymakers in overcoming the challenges and fight for the grassroots of general practice, of which I have been a member for 34 years. I started my career in the 1970s, like many GPs of my generation hailing from south Asia. I worked in a deprived Welsh valley town as a salaried GP, became a singlehander and progressed to become a trainer and local course organiser.

I eventually retired as a partner of a large, progressive group practice, metamorphosing again as a sessional GP.

Back in 1987 I was the first Welsh Asian GP to join the MRCGP examiners panel. No mean feat given I was told not to shame our college when, in 1977, I approached a member to witness my application for the MRCGP examination.

At a ceremony last week, I met more than 100 new members who had enthusiasm written all over their faces, just like I did when I passed my MRCGP. They felt it was an honour to be a member, but most were concerned about their future because of the lack of partnerships. Let us not betray their trust. If elected I will do my utmost not to do so.

From Dr Has Joshi, Torfaen, South Wales

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