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GPs go forth

GMC review into revalidation to focus on time spent preparing by doctors

The GMC has launched a survey asking all doctors to ‘help shape the future of revalidation’, with a bulk of the questions focusing on how long doctors take to prepare for their appraisal.

The survey - which the GMC has sent out to 160,000 doctors – forms part of the regulator’s independent review of revalidation, which chief executive Niall Dickson revealed on Pulse.

As the part of the survey, doctors are specifically asked to detail the time they take to prepare for their revalidation appraisal and to also give details of the time they spent on their appraisal before the introduction of revalidation in 2012.

The full findings of the research are not expected to be published until 2018, but Professor Dickson has told Pulse that the regulator will act on the interim results, which are being published in January 2016.

The survey asks doctors to estimate ‘how many hours per week they spent on activities that informed to the appraisal’, and also they ‘spent less or more time on preparing for the appraisal’ before revalidation was introduced.

The time it takes to prepare for the controversial process of revalidation has previously come under fire by the GPC, when Dr Peter Holden, a former GPC negotiator and GP in Matlock, Derbyshire, told Pulse that some GPs were being forced to spend 40 hours on revalidation preparation.

At the time, in 2013, Dr Holden warned that a revolt against revalidation was looming, and claimed that the GMC needed to ‘grow some balls’ over the issue and tackle the burden that the process presents to GPs.

Since then, the GMC’s revalidation process has been further criticised after an NHS report revealed that doctors are having to spend far longer on the revalidation process than had originally been expected.

However, the GMC’s chief executive Niall Dickson recently told Pulse that ‘revalidation was not a waste of time’ and that the regulator’s review of the process will allow the GMC to ‘refine the process’.

GPC chair Dr Vautrey told Pulse that the GPC welcomed the GMC’s intentions to hear the views of GPs on revalidation, but warned that the findings should be ‘seriously acted upon’.

Dr Vautrey said: It’s good that the GMC are asking all doctors and appraisers about their experience of appraisal and how the introduction of revalidation has impacted on that.

‘It’s a long survey for busy GPs to complete when they’ve already got a huge workload burden, often added to by the requirements of appraisal and revalidation, but it does provide a good way of feeding back the many concerns GPs have about the current system.

‘If doctors are going to spend a lot of time completing this it is important that the GMC takes the findings seriously and acts upon them.’

Readers' comments (29)

  • I will tell them that appraisal and re validation is one of the greatest con tricks played on the general public.
    The whole process should be exposed as such, as not fit for purpose( which was??)-and an excruciating monumental waste of time.

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  • I first realised that I could never revalidate when I found that I had to be vaccinated and only recommend vaccines to others. What ever your view on vaccination, only being able to give one option to people on an important issue did it for me.
    In addition as an independent academic, it was pretty much imposible for me jump though all the hoops. So I 'voluntarily' resigned my licence to practice and have also taken my name off the medical register as I could not see the point of remaining on it.
    I suppose by coming off the register, I will not be invited to participate in this survey now!
    Curiously the GMC representative I spoke to when I was giving up my licence told me that he was advising others, who like me had no designated body to revalidate with, to go abroad as the pay and conditions were much better and they had less paperwork to do! Also the fact that they had no designated body alone meant in his opinion that they would never successfully revalidate.

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  • Maybe they should have asked us before introducing the whole shebang and then ramping it up. I'm having uncomfortable visions of stable doors and horses.

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  • If my job interview (and 2.5 hour exam pre-interview) is successful. The parachute handle is primed. Bye. ;)

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  • I have absolutely no faith what so ever in either Niall Dickson or the GMC

    When I think about the amount of study, training and pure hard graft I went through to become a Dr. With endless on calls in hospital, night shifts and coming face to face with the stark reality death and illness when still a young man. When I think of this and contemplate that the professional body that regulates me is run by an ex BBC health correspondent, who prances around thinking up ways of making sure I do as I'm told. It well near makes me sick.

    Who is Niall Dickson anyhow...and why is this guy running the GMC?

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  • I spent five years on revalidation
    5 days on computer adding things and scanning.
    cancelled holiday and suffered with anxiety.
    ignored my family anf let my dad died without seeing me.
    finally i was awarded 5 year licence to safe lives.
    Thanks to gmc.

    So many families lost their lives after the suicide of many drs.
    May god give you long life and give you chance to face and understand the consequences of gp scarcity in uk.

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  • This comment has been moderated.

  • There is a desperate need, given the apparent widespread disillusionment and doctor dissatisfaction with the GMC, for a vote of confidence in this regulator by doctors to take place.

    It clearly no longer is 'self-regulation' of the medical profession.

    If a fit and proper vote of confidence were to be a resounding no vote against the GMC, an alternative funded by the tax payer should be sought. An alternative, should it be called upon, must abide by the rule of law and the Human Rights Act and be fully independent of government interference.

    This desperately needs to happen before more doctors die and to reduce the loss of doctors from the profession from retirement, unsafe rulings or emigration due to over regulation.

    Enough is enough. There is a serious lack of an evidence base behind what the GMC actually does and why it is the most punishing and over regulating doctor regulator in the western world. There is, however, a disturbingly growing evidence base of the harm the GMC does and that it is not fit for purpose and is a threat to the safety of patients, doctors and their families alike.

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  • It's not the litigious, the complainers ,QUOF ,or the extended role, not even the CQC.
    It's Appraisal and re validation that have ruined this job.

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  • @ 10.13pm

    So its over regulation (again) that is killing the job?

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  • revalidation is a pain in the arse but I think some comments are a bit over the top its not really much different to before. all you have to do is go to a few educational events and write it down on a website. The audit is time consuming and ridiculous and I think that should be removed as it doesn't prove anything. Audit should be done by auditors not GPs with patients to see.
    Other places have similar. in Canada I have to rack up a similar number of points on a website although u just find the course on a list and they give u the points. no need to reflect and right a load of tosh to get extra brownie points I suppose but its not that different.
    In the US they have to sit an exam every five years I think so could be worse.

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