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Revalidation roll out gathers pace

By Gareth Iacobucci

The Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam Donaldson has confirmed plans for an implementation team and £1 million worth of funding to support the rollout of revalidation.

The six strong team, which includes three GPs, will oversee the controversial process in England, providing leadership, support and advice to doctors, to equip them to meet tough new standards required.

The process - a work a progress for more than a decade – will see GPs facing compulsory annual assessments, and could see doctors having their licenses removed if they are judged to be performing poorly.

GPs will be required to renew their licenses every five years, with senior doctors assessing colleagues who are practicing in their area to ensure they are not putting patients at risk.

Patient feedback will also be used in the assessment process, pilots of which will start next year.

But critics have warned that the extra scrutiny placed on GPs could lead to them practicing more defensive medicine.

CMO Sir Liam Donaldson said the establishment of the team was ‘an important step forward' in introducing revalidation.

He said: ‘The news that the NHS Revalidation Support Team is now in place marks an important step forward in the process of introducing revalidation for doctors in England. Their expertise and experience will be a critical source of advice and support in making that happen.'

Maurice Conlon, national director of the Revalidation Support Team and a GP, said: ‘We believe that, for revalidation to work, organisations must step outside their normal boundaries. We are proud of our track record of building consensus and are enthusiastic about working cooperatively for the benefit of patients and doctors alike.'

Professor Sir Graeme Catto, president of the GMC, also leant his support to the team. He said: ‘We look forward to working with the new Revalidation Support Team on developing local processes and systems that will meet the needs of the medical profession, employers and patients and welcome their appointment.'

The Department of Health said the team would work closely with colleagues in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to ensure that NHS professionals, employers and commissioners are involved in the design and roll out of the new processes.

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