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New GMC chair pledges to win over grassroots GPs on revalidation

By The Pulse news team

Exclusive: The GMC must do much more to persuade grassroots GPs of the need for revalidation – and reassure them it ‘is not to do with catching murderers' - the regulator's new chief said this week.

In an exclusive interview with Pulse, Professor Peter Rubin, who succeeded Sir Graeme Catto as chair of the GMC Council in April, pledged to win the hearts and minds of the profession as the regulator prepares to make revalidation a reality within the next two years.

Professor Rubin said he had been ‘very heartened' by support from RCGP and GPC leaders – but warned much work remained to be done.

‘In my view, we need to be doing more to convince the doctors at the frontline of the need for revalidation,' he said. ‘That's why I am committed to going out once a month during my time as chair to meet doctors on the frontline, to listen to doctors' concerns, not to talk at them, and where appropriate, explain and clarify.'

‘One of the messages I'm keen to get across is that revalidation has been confused with all the events that surrounded Shipman. That is not why revalidation is being establish – nor was it a Government idea, it was a GMC idea.'

‘It is a GMC idea, but it is not to do with catching murderers. It is to do with assuring the public that all doctors practising in the UK are up-to-date and fit to practise.'

Professor Rubin, whose background is as a Professor of Therapeutics and Honorary Consultant Physician at Nottingham University Hospitals, and is also a former chair of the Postgraduate Medical Education and Training Board, said the GMC was ‘taking one step at a time' with the revalidation pilots. He promised a wide ranging consultation early next year to help clarify details such as the role of responsible officers, and how they could avoid possible conflicts of interest.

He added: ‘I'm absolutely certain that revalidation will not begin for everybody, in every speciality, in every part of the UK, on the same day. Who will be ready and who will not be ready is not yet clear.'

‘But I'm confident there will be enough to begin revalidation in 2011.'

Professor Rubin also said it was unlikely that local PCT policies, such as prescribing guidance, would be allowed to play a significant role in revalidation standards.

‘It is by no means clear that a local decision would necessarily be relevant to revalidating someone against a national standard,' he said.

‘It might be on occasions, depending on what the issue is, but doctors will be revalidated against a uniform national standard, whether you're a GP in the north of Scotland or the west of Cornwall.'

New GMC chair Professor Peter Rubin New GMC chair Professor Peter Rubin

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