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The RCGP election has found its issue and sprung to life

The post of president may be ceremonial, but the vote will be a key measure of opinion about revalidation

By Richard Hoey

The post of president may be ceremonial, but the vote will be a key measure of opinion about revalidation



I have to confess, we in the Pulse offices didn't have the race to be RCGP president down as the news event of the year.

Even the college has done its best to downplay the election for the largely ceremonial role, slightly confusingly suggesting it is the equivalent of voting for the Queen (not an option, as far as I'm aware).

But ceremonial or not, this is an election which has jumped into life.

Dr Una Coales got the ball rolling, with a vigorous attack on the college's complicity in what she fears will be regulation overload.

Fellow candidate Dr Iona Heath, who is probably favourite for the role, a little drily responded that this was no place for ‘raging' manifestos.

But perhaps a spot of raging was just what the doctor ordered, because the early response to Dr Coales's manifesto has been pretty positive, and it has started to provoke a reaction.

Dr Has Joshi, the third presidential candidate, has written an extensive piece for the coming issue of Pulse – summarised here – which draws the battle lines for the election.

And it's a battle which will be fought over revalidation, which Dr Coales so fears, but which Dr Joshi believes – with a little work – can be ‘the envy of the world'.

I don't know either candidate, bar the odd phone call or email, but their differences in personality and stance are very clear from the way they write.

Dr Joshi is the insider, Dr Coales the outsider, while Dr Health is a kind of outsider's insider, through her dual roles with the college and as a columnist for the BMJ.

Another confession now. A few weeks ago, the prospect of an election fought over revalidation would have prompted a kind of dull dread in Pulse HQ.

We all knew it was important, but none of us understood its implications concretely enough to know quite why.

Pulse's revelation last week that between 5 and 14% of all GPs will face some form of retraining under the plans for revalidation has helped bring the issue to life.

Retraining – now that's something we can all understand, and that some GPs may fear.

It's that concern Dr Coales will be looking to exploit - and Dr Joshi to assuage.

By Richard Hoey, Pulse deputy editor

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