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More scrutiny of appraisals as revalidation is tightened

GPs will have their appraisal evidence scrutinised by a panel of doctors and lay people to test whether it is suitable for revalidation under further plans to tighten the process.

If the panel finds gaps in the appraisal file, GPs will be asked to submit further evidence before they can be revalidated and could have their case referred to the GMC.

The plans being finalised by a working group made up of the GMC, RCGP, GPC and Department of Health are aimed at shoring up public support for revalidation and ensuring it is free of bias.

The change would come in advance of a Shipman Inquiry report due this summer which is expected to express concerns over the link between appraisal and revalidation.

Dr Krishna Korlipara, GMC member of the working group and a GP in Bolton, said having more people consider evidence would inspire more confidence in revalidation.

Original proposals were for PCO clinical governance leads to examine the evidence and sign a declaration confirming it was sufficient.

Dr Korlipara said panels were also less likely to be seen as biased against a particular doctor.

He added: 'A reliance on clinical governance may not provide sufficient transparency and may be subject to the opinion of one person who may or may not be a doctor.'

Local panels are likely to be made up of a clinical governance lead, a lay member and another doctor from the same specialty.

GPC chair Dr John Chis-holm said the changes would make revalidation more robust but added work was still needed on who would sit on the panels.

He said: 'Our concern all along has been that the process should be robust.'

By Ian Cameron

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