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'Bulk of doctors' back revalidation processes, says GMC chief

The 'bulk of doctors' support having annual appraisals as part of the revalidation process as it leads to better patient care, the chief executive of the GMC has said.

Charlie Massey told delegates at Pulse Live that the annual appraisal and revalidation processes are leading to 'beneficial reflections', which 'one has to assume' are improving patient safety.

His comments came after he was was asked what evidence the GMC has that revalidation is improving patient care.

Mr Massey said that findings from the UMbRELLA group, a research group that has been evaluating the revalidation process since 2016, 'tells us that doctors have been reflecting as part of that process and that most of the time when they've been reflecting it has led to changes in practice and one has to assume that those changes in practice are the ones that lead to benefits in patient safety'.

He added: 'I do think that the fact that the bulk of doctors are saying that having gone through the annual appraisal process, that that is leading to a beneficial reflection is something that one should - and keep being beneficial to patients.'

According to GMC guidance, doctors are required to have regular appraisals in order to revalidate every five years. 

But Mr Massey said that the regulator is taking a ‘range of different actions’ based on the Sir Keith Pearson review of revalidation including to ‘reduce burdens’ placed on doctors by their local employer.

He said: ‘A lot of the things that people described as burdens being borne out of the revalidation process are actually borne out of what local employers are deciding in terms of their in house process.

‘So I think there is a really important piece of work, which we have the intention of doing, in terms of really stripping it back and defining what revalidation is about.’

GPs have been concerned about revalidation and the use of their reflections since the Dr Bawa-Garba case, when it was suggested that the junior doctor's reflections had been used against her in court.

However, Medical Protection Society (MPS), which represented Dr Bawa-Garba in court, issued a statement to say that her e-portfolio reflections were never submitted to court.

Mr Massey said that 'being reflective is a really important part of medical professionalism' and despite 'lots of misunderstandings' over the use the reflections, the GMC maintains that it 'will never ask a doctor or a third party for their reflective notes'.

As part of evidence submitted to the Department of Health and Social Care's Williams Review into gross negligence manslaughter in medicine, the GMC called for doctors' reflections to be legally protected against use in court.

Readers' comments (29)

  • 'Ad hominem' attacks are distasteful. But Charlie your in a powerful position which licenses you to enforce your opinions. Unfortunately are a person who simply 'doesn't know what he doesn't know'. Tell us Charlie, what are your intellectual, academic, political and philosophical credentials. Not like we don't actually know (Oh Yeh, 'II'
    I'll have quarter of million a year being a political flunky' - and ' fxxk the damage I do'.

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  • An organisation charged with looking after the integrity of the medical profession prepared to lie so brazenly?
    There are boxes at the end of the so called 'useful' revalidation process that Charlie Boy would clearly not be able to tick.
    This organisation no longer has anything to do with representing me until those responsible resign and it is completely reformed. I note Dr Bawa Garba is not back at work yet...

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  • Bulk of doctors? All I have spoken to does not share your findings Mr Pinnochio Massey. We do not back you and we certainly do not back the broken GMC.

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  • Mr Massey should provide the data upon which he relies.

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  • Cobblers

    Giles 10:36am no point in that data. Not only has the research been run by someone who 'organised' revalidation from the start (hence has a conflict of interest) but the data they espouse is garnered from those whom the GMC has by the balls (ie GMC registerd Doctors)? So they are likely to say precisely what the GMC wants to hear.

    Crap data, crap research, crap conclusions. GIGO.

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  • I foolishly contributed to the Umbrella feedback about appraisal and received an offer to have my appraisal videoed, so that the GMC could better understand the problems I was having with the process that so many other doctors enjoyed. I got the message, and now I have a 'great time' and 'look forward to my appraisal more than my birthday'

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  • Bulk because only those sitting on fat asses and not dealing with patients can support them:)

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  • David Banner

    OK Pulse, time for a survey. Simply ask.....”Do you support the current process of revalidation?” We can send the results to the GMC to help back its claim that the “bulk” of GPs are in favour.. (they may have a nasty surprise)

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  • I absolutely agree with you David Banner.
    Easy for another more independent organisation to survey. It’s worth the BMA paying for Mori or similar.
    I just don’t believe Massey and anyway, as already pointed out it was not independent research.
    Very poor. GMC really know how to keep digging. GMC are a maleavolent organisation.

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  • I think he is probably using the feedback that we complete on our appraiser. I believe I may have contributed when I ticked the 'useful' box. I was trying to be kind to my appraiser, as he is making the best of a bad deal.

    In no way is this a true reflection of how I feel about the appraisal process itself.

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