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Revalidation plans opposed by half of GPs

By Amy Fallon

Exclusive: Half of GPs do not support the Government's revalidation plans, Pulse's State of the Profession Survey reveals.

The poll – one of the first to canvass GPs' views on the topic – found that 52% of GPs oppose the introduction of revalidation in its current form. Some 26% of GPs support the proposals, while 22% said they were unsure.

The GMC has previously claimed huge support for its plans for streamlined revalidation, a claim which was met with scepticism from GPs.

In October last year, the GMC published nearly 1,000 consultation responses to its plans and claimed majority support for controversial elements – including 360-degree feedback from colleagues and patient surveys about individual GPs.

At the time, the GMC said it was only prepared to ‘refine' its plans – despite its analysis of responses also finding more than half had expressed concern about administrative workload.

Our survey this week also shows forcing through revalidation without GP backing could prompt many to quit the profession, with more than one GP in 10 saying they intend to leave before the plans come into effect.

Professor Mike Pringle, medical director of revalidation at the RCGP, expressed alarm at the figures.

'If someone were to retire or leave the profession early on account of revalidation, that would not only be very sad but quite counter to what we are trying to achieve,' he said.

GPs across the country told Pulse of their concerns. Dr Howard Morley, a GP in Edinburgh, said revalidation was 'a totally useless extra administrative burden detracting from the main issues'.

Dr Peter Dixon, a GP in Manchester, said the plans 'certainly do not improve the individual GP'.

And Dr Charu Narayanan, a GP in Newport, Wales, said: 'Appraisal is a good idea, but revalidation implies even more paperwork.'

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC, said: 'This should be an opportunity rather than a burden for GPs. Our consultation last year showed overwhelming support for our revalidation proposals. Parliament has made clear it expects to see revalidation in place as soon as possible, and it will be up and running towards the end of 2012.'

Professor Mike Pringle

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