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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Revalidation will damage morale, GPs believe

By Gareth Iacobucci

Half of GPs believe that revalidation will belittle their professionalism – with almost two thirds fearing that it will reduce morale, according to a new survey.

The survey of 203 GPs by market research consultancy TNS Healthcare found widespread scepticism towards the controversial plans, which will require GPs will to renew their licenses every five years.

Almost three quarters (71%) of respondents felt that the process would reduce their time spent with patients, with 63% predicting that it will become a ‘tick-box' exercise.

Under the plans, GPs will face compulsory annual assessments, and could have their licenses removed if they are judged to be performing poorly.

Senior colleagues will be asked to assess doctors practicing in their area to ensure they are not putting patients at risk, with patient feedback also likely to be used in the assessment process.

But critics have warned that the extra scrutiny could lead to the spread of defensive medicine, with doctors in the survey expressing serious doubts about the wisdom of the process.

84% of respondents said that revalidation would not be successful in identifying another Harold Shipman, with almost half (48%) concerned that the process will merely serve as a tool to weed out doctors viewed as difficult to manage or uncooperative.

Similarly, over half of respondents (56%) disagreed that revalidation would lead to consistent standards of practice across the UK, with under half (46%) believing that it would enhance public confidence in the medical profession

In order to gain revalidation, which is being piloted from next year, GPs will have to clear two hurdles; recertification - to confirm that they meet standards appropriate for the specialty of their medicine, and re-licensure – to confirm that they practise in accordance with the GMC's generic standards.

GPs fear new rules will mean less time with patients GPs fear new rules will mean less time with patients

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