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Independents' Day

GMC defers all GP revalidation this year

The General Medical Council has announced an extension to GP revalidation dates eligible for deferral due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Previously, all revalidation dates scheduled from March until the end of September 2020 were deferred for a year to ‘free up vital time’ for GPs to respond to the virus.

But today the GMC announced that doctors with a revalidation date between 17 March 2020 and 16 March 2021 can now have their revalidation delayed for ‘up to a year’.

Recommendations for revalidation can now be made by a doctor’s responsible officer with ‘increased flexibility’ and ‘at any point from now up to a doctor’s new revalidation date’, it added.

However, the GMC said that ‘a missed appraisal as a result of the pandemic should not prevent a recommendation being made about a doctor’s revalidation.’

It said: ‘This means responsible officers can make a revalidation recommendation for a doctor with less than five annual appraisals, providing there is a legitimate reason for the missed appraisal and that other necessary supporting information has been collated.’

GMC chief Charlie Massey added that the deferral to revalidation dates will ‘help free up more time’.

He said: ‘The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented challenge and we are doing all we can to support doctors and employers. Deferring revalidation dates will help free up more time, allowing them to provide the best possible to care to patients.

‘We’ve also listened to responsible officers, who told us they would welcome flexibility in making recommendations to revalidate doctors whose dates have changed. So, we have agreed that those recommendations can be made at any time up to a doctor’s revised date.’

The GMC is writing to doctors affected by a change in revalidation dates with further information, it added.

It comes as RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall warned that general practice bureaucracy halted due to coronavirus - such as revalidation and appraisals - must not return to pre-pandemic levels.  

In March, NHS England said it ‘strongly recommended’ that GP appraisals were suspended, alongside the GMC’s announcement it was deferring revalidation. 

Readers' comments (24)

  • Just goes to show how essential the whole revalidation thing is.

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  • Like they're doing you a favour, and not vice versa.

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  • And appraisals? How long are they Shelved (binned Pleeeease) for?

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  • Should help if there is another run on toilet paper and stocks are low.

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  • GMC as misleading and covert as a PCN-DES.

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  • Yes,it just shows how unimportant this suddenly has become. However, in another way this should have been a priority time for everyone to be seen for revalidation to show how a practice is dealing with Covid-19, and a great time to get individual commentaries and reflections on ways our practice is being severely restricted, e.g PPE provision and ways practices have handled this virus in varying circumstances. Also, how often has GP or nurse or manager or staff self-isolation led to a breakdown in proper patient care. Reflecting on the sidelining of some groups of patients or aspects of patient care
    would have been some help to GP, e.g. cancer patients or the elderly, in or out of care homes, with or without their access to computers. In addition, what about waiting outside a closed surgery to collect a prescription with entry to buildings seriously restricted, or not being able to physically examine a patient when this was thought to be necessary. This could be a truly lost opportunity for doctors to voice what's going on and reflect on our practice and to guide practice going forwards.

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  • Charlie Massey.
    £250K per annum.
    I'll leave it there.

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  • ..but 'revalidation is just a paper exercise' they say; their admission would seem to suggest that it does drain resources..

    It is the 5 appraisals that you have to have had which will complicate things a little, or will that requirement be suspended too?

    Interesting that '5000' new doctors were found (unilaterally added back to the register) by scrapping many of these administrative carbuncles of medical regulation.

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  • ‘The standard of proof 'threshold' for proving a case (at MPTS) is therefore now lower than it once was, making it easier for the GMC to prove its case against a doctor. The GMC needs only to prove the case on the balance of probabilities (“which explanation is more probable”) to a threshold of 51% or more.’

    So despite the fact that the GMC can impose a criminal level sanction on an individual who fails to deliver the expected solution to a complex problem, they only have to provide a civil level of proof?

    Some might consider the simple extrapolation of this fact might suggest that practising medicine is not only fraught with danger but also viewed by current society in the UK, as akin to criminal activity?

    The GMC should be returned to its role of ‘keeper of the register’!

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  • Not sure I understand this. My date was in June and postponed despite the fact I completed my 5th appraisal and hence the 5yr cycle last October and have dutifully ticked all boxes and cleared all hoops , so why can I not be revalidate? To add insult to injury have just received an email telling me to book for this years appraisal. Will my next cycle only be 4 years or will it also be delayed ?

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