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RCGP vows to support locums in revalidation battle

By Gareth Iacobucci

The Royal College of General Practitioners has made its frankest admission yet of the problems faced by locums and sessional GPs working in ‘unsupportive practices' in achieving revalidation.

The second version of the RCGP's revalidation guide for GPs articulates the potential difficulties sessional doctors may face, particularly in gaining feedback from colleagues.

The College warned that GPs in small and remote practices could be particularly vulnerable in gathering sufficient evidence to pass smoothly through the process - but vowed to iron out any deficiencies in its ongoing pilots.

However, the updated guidance contains more positive movement on controversial issues such as learning credits and patient surveys, and confirms that GPs who fail revalidation will be able to appeal to the GMC.

The guidance recommends that sessional doctors without a supportive practice team may need to establish peer groups to help them analyse significant events and conduct clinical audits.

The College said it planned to set up a website where worked examples of audits suitable can be accessed, in a bid to ease some of the strain.

As first revealed at this year's annual LMC conference, the revised document proposes that GPs can now earn learning credits by counting hours spent planning and reflecting, and can double their credits by demonstrating how the learning has improved their practice.

The document also reveals that GPs will only need do one patient survey in five years, provided the first is ‘highly satisfactory.' This change will mean GPs can now submit a review of their consulting skills - potentially via a videotaped consultation or peer observation - instead of a second survey.

The College acknowledged that problems for locums and sessional GPs had to be overcome.

The guidance reads: ‘Peripatetic locums and sessional doctors working in unsupportive practices may experience difficulties. Some of these difficulties are also likely to be experienced by GPs in small and remote practices.'

‘The scope of these problems will become clearer in the pilots. However, we have already said that a questionnaire undertaken by a peripatetic locum at the end of locum sessions and accumulated over time will be regarded as sufficient evidence for a colleague survey. We will be looking for other equivalents for those few doctors who experience similar difficulties.'

Meanwhile, in a report on the progress of its UK-wide revalidation pilots, the GMC has acknowledged that many locums are still sceptical about the process, and warned that a ‘fear factor' was discouraging some from taking part.

Interviewed in the latest issue of GMC Today, Dr Kwee Matheson of NHS Professionals, who has led a team investigating what evidence locums will be able to collect for revalidation, said: ‘There's still a lack of understanding of what revalidation involves and what sort of evidence locum doctors should be collecting.'

‘We get the sense that a lot of locums still believe it's not going to happen or that they are going to be exempt.'

The RCGP has published a second version of its revalidation guide for GPs The RCGP has published a second version of its revalidation guide for GPs

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