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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs must have a choice of responsible officers, say LMCs

By Gareth Iacobucci

GPs must be given the choice of at least two responsible officers, who must be practising GPs, to run the rule over their path to revalidation, say LMCs.

A motion backed by representatives at the annual LMCs conference also demanded that the officers, who will be charged with recommending GPs to the GMC for revalidation, should ‘not be accountable to primary care organisations in any other performance capacity'.

The introduction of the network of local officers, widely expected to be medical directors in most cases, has been thrown into doubt after health secretary Andrew Lansley's decision to delay the rollout of revalidation by extending pilots until 2012, due to his lack of confidence in the current proposals.

GPs at the conference backed a motion which read: ‘Conference demands that GPs have a choice of at least two responsible officers and instructs GPC/BMA to negotiate accordingly. Conference believes the responsible officer must be a practising GP.'

The timely vote comes after Pulse revealed last week that more than a quarter of primary care organisations do not currently have a GP medical director in place, leaving them floundering in their preparation for revalidation.

The Government is expected to lay regulations before parliament this Autumn outlining how the establishment of Responsible Officers will proceed in light of the delayed rollout.

Dr John Grenville, secretary of Derbyshire LMCs, who proposed the motion, said: ‘For a practising GP, the Responsible Officer should be a practising GP. They have a huge range of tasks to do. Other people don't have that breadth of experience.'

He added: ‘If the Responsible Officer is looking from another performance capacity, they may not have an open mind.

‘Equally, it is possible that two people fall out. If someone is going to make a decision on my future, I need to be able to say, I have a problem with them, and would like someone else.'

Representatives also supported a separate motion condemning the RCGP's development of ‘gold standard system of revalidation', which was also criticised by NHS Employers in their response to the GMC's consultation on revalidation.

The motion read: ‘The conference is gravely concerned that the RCGP is designing a gold standard system of revalidation without the funding being secured.'

Dr Richard Parker, from Cambridgeshire LMC, who proposed the motion, said: ‘The College should have been considering the costs alongside the plans from the start.'

Dr John Grenville

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