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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Hutton: GPs have to pay to keep EMIS

GPs believe the GMC is letting the Shipman Inquiry walk

all over it –

Ian Cameron reports on the results of the latest Pulse survey

The GMC should fight back against criticism of its original plans for revalidation, GPs

believe.

In a Pulse survey of more than 500 GPs, 84 per cent said the GMC should not allow itself to be bullied by the Shipman Inquiry or ministers into making wholesale changes to revalidation.

Nearly 80 per cent of GPs also believe the GMC should remain as the regulatory body for doctors. Only 20 per cent said the time had come for it to be 'wound up'.

The support from GPs is a fillip for the embattled council.

It has consistently maintained that Dame Janet Smith, the Shipman Inquiry chair, did not take into account changes the GMC had already made to its structure and revalidation.

But a review this year led by Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson is expected to toughen up revalidation and recommend an overhaul of the council.

Of the 511 GPs who responded, 59 per cent disagreed with Dame Janet's verdict that the GMC's plans for revalidation were not 'fit for purpose'.

A similar number backed the continued use of appraisal as part of revalidation.

Three GPs in five said the current appraisal system was 'worthwhile'. Nearly three-quarters said it should be continued as a mentoring scheme rather than being made pass or fail.

Older doctors were less likely to support the process, with just 29 per cent of GPs over 65 agreeing appraisal was worthwhile.

Dr Ahmet Fuat, a GP in Darlington, said he backed the GMC's plans for revalidation. Toughening up revalidation, he said, was politically motivated and would hurt GPs and patients.

Dr Fuat said: 'It would knock GP morale and push older GPs out. We are fed

up with being blamed for Shipman.'

Nearly 40 per cent said they would be more likely to retire earlier if revalidation was made more difficult.

Finlay Scott, chief executive of the GMC, said it was 'gratifying' so many GPs believed in its revalidation proposals, but added the council had to be open to ideas to strengthen it.

He said: 'We and the public are interested in performance, demonstrated day-by-day, not simply knowledge and skills displayed periodically.'

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