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GMC pledges to simplify revalidation and reduce doctor workload

The GMC has said it will push ahead with implementing changes to revalidation, in line with recommendations published earlier this year.

The review, led by revalidation programme board chair Sir Keith Pearson, made a range of recommendations including on how to reduce the related workload.

One suggestion had including pre-populating revalidation feedback by allowing this to be collected from patients after every doctor interaction.

Sir Keith had also recommended revalidation would be renamed 'relicensing', as this would be more meaningful to patients; tracking impact of revalidation; making sure managers were not using revalidation to push local performance targets; and looking closer at responsible officer conflicts of interest.

In response, the GMC said it will consult doctors and patients to 'identify how to make the patient feedback process easier and more valuable', by March next year.

By the same deadline, the GMC said it will:

  • provide doctors and responsible officers with 'clearer guidance' on what is required of them for revalidation;
  • offer 'more specific advice' on how doctors should gather colleague feedback, including how to select the colleagues; and
  • improve the revalidation process for doctors working across different settings, including the NHS and private practice, so that it 'covers a doctor's whole scope of practice'.

It also said it would come up with a simpler explanation of revalidation to patients and develop a 'proportionate way' to monitor revalidation to ensure it does what it is supposed to do.

The medical royal colleges will also be updating their revalidation guidance to clarify the GMC's requirements as well as their own recommendations, the GMC added.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health will review rules for who should revalidate locums and other doctors who do not have an obivous responsbile officer.

GMC chair Charley Massey said: 'We’ve held discussions with representatives of doctors, patients and other bodies who deliver revalidation across the UK, focusing on the key actions required to make improvements, without adding additional cost or burden. This plan, and the commitments in it, is the result of that initial joint work.

‘But it’s just the beginning, and it’s vital now that we maintain the momentum. We need the continued commitment from a wide range of organisations to make revalidation a better experience for doctors, especially at a time when they are under ever-increasing pressure.

‘Revalidation is integral to assuring patients that we regularly confirm that a doctor remains fit to practise. Our focus now is continuing to work with other organisations, getting their feedback and input, as we act on commitments set out in this plan.’

BMA chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said that the BMA 'supports the principle of revalidation', adding: 'We see this action plan as an opportunity to reduce the burden that revalidation imposes on doctors.

'In particular, we want to see implementation of the recommendation from Sir Keith Pearson’s review that local organisations should not use revalidation as a lever to achieve objectives beyond the GMC’s revalidation requirements.

’We also agree with Sir Keith that doctors should be able to challenge decisions they feel are unfair.

Dr Nagpaul added that the BMA will 'continue to press the GMC and other bodies about the actions needed to relieve the unnecessary burden that revalidation can sometimes place on doctors'.

The GMC's revalidation 'action plan'

  1. Making revalidation more accessible to patients and the public.
  2. Reducing burdens and improving the appraisal experience for doctors.
  3. Strengthening assurance where doctors work in multiple locations.
  4. Reducing the number of doctors without a connection.
  5. Tracking the impact of revalidation
  6. Supporting improved local governance.

Source: Taking Revalidation Forward Action Plan

Readers' comments (38)

  • I completely agree with David Banner's sentiments.
    This was all introduced as a knee-jerk response to Shipman, who no doubt would have sailed through appraisal and revaluation.

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  • Never yet met a patient who had any knowledge or interest in doctors' appraisal/revalidation (tho nearly all would vote for it after a concise explanation - all would also have rapidly changed their mind if they personally had to pay (money, effort, time, delay in appointment) for it. Criminal waste of resources is not of concern unless one personally and consciously suffers the loss. Charlie and his predecessors benefited upwards of a quarter a million a year from this scandalous, wasteful and destructive process. BMA and RC head honchos are similarly responsible. What ever happened to scientific evidence?

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  • Surely legal action against this is long overdue? Some powerful people have wilfully done something for which they know full well there is no evidence, strong expert objection and has harmed patients by reducing access to our profession. Many people will have extracted large sums of money from this work off our backs. At some point this must cross a threshold where it would be possible to prosecute for misconduct in public office?

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  • We are regulated enough.. the real scandal is the army of unregulated people working in the NHS ANP, Emergency Care practitioners, Pharmacists etc.

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  • The complete capitulation of the BMA to this bureaucratic bullying is why they will never get another penny from me.

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  • GMC should be charged with bringing profession to disrepute, encouraging consumerism and commercialisation with in profession and ultimately degrading and destroying a noble profession. RCGP as accomplice in this act.

    Well done to all responsible for promoting professionalism and high standards in medicine. job well done in destroying the profession that you are there to protect and nurture.

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  • I can't see anything in this article that will reduce workload burden for Drs. Gathering patient feedback is entirely one sided and with no regulation. Just look at NHS choices website. It's a sounding board for anyone who is disgruntled with the service. Drs on the frontline work incredibly hard and long hours propping up an underfunded and falling system. Patients complaints about the failing system influence their comments which wrongly imply that the blame lies with the individual surgery or Drs.
    Again the people in power seem to have no knowledge of how things are on the frontline. Making pointless changes to a pointless revalidation system is not going to save anyone any time. Making the changes will waste more money and time and will certainly not find the next shipman!

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  • Just Your Average Joe

    Revalidation should be scrapped for the vast majority of Doctors - however if you are found guilty of misconduct or involved in a significant failure/complaint then you could be referred for revalidation for a 1-3 year period to show you are up to date etc.

    That is a fair and reasonable compromise.

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  • Revalidation=Completely junk...
    Huge cost in time (and money} better employed to patients 'cares!!! NO EFFECT ON PATIENTS SATISFACTION AND NO EFFECT ON HEALTH IMPROVEMENT!!
    Also incomprehensible verbal diarrhea from GMC...
    But there are funding for Nuclear Bombs, nuclear submarine boats (minimum of 200 billions with maintenance crew, exercises etc...
    Even our government said ready to press the button first!!! so end of Humanity then problem solved!
    And GPs, Specialists, pressurised at maximum (time and money)...
    Dr Shipman must laugh in his grave to be at origin of such mess...

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  • Too little, too late for me! Although I'm revalidated for a couple more years I jumped ship 10 weeks ago after 42 years working in the NHS. I can't see me ever wanting to pick up a stethoscope again so can you blame me? Why do I still feel guilty about leaving the sinking ship HMS NHS and leave the rest of you to try and carry on?

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