This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Read the latest issue online

CAMHS won't see you now

Surely the GMC could squander our time and money on better things

Dr Pete Deveson

Dr Pete Deveson BLOG duo_3x2

What could you achieve if you had three years to do it in? It seems a strange question to put to the time-paupers of primary care, whose working lives are desperately eked into inadequate ten-minute rations. Just imagine it though: three years!

Leonardo Da Vinci, one of the greatest minds our humble species has produced, took three years to knock out The Last Supper.

The proud workmen of Paris built La Tour Eiffel in two and a bit, no mean feat when you consider the amount of mandatory downtime for nicotine and expressive shrugging the erection must have necessitated.

But these achievements seem meagre indeed when you learn that the GMC has spent the last three years investigating whether appraisal does anything to benefit professional practice. And their findings at the end of this herculean academic undertaking? In a nutshell : ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Revalidation exists primarily to give the impression of doing something to protect the public

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Surely the GMC have got more important things on which to squander our fees, like private health screening for all their staff, or paying two sets of lawyers to argue against each other about precisely how maliciously a doctor who made mistakes should be crushed.

In fairness though, it’s a reasonable question to ask; asking it before rolling the whole pointless system out nationwide would have made more sense, obviously. But if appraisal doesn’t improve professional practice, what is it for?

Lots of doctors think revalidation was brought in to prevent the next Shipman, which doesn’t make much sense; if anything, being forced to fill endless white spaces with tokenistic drivel makes me feel more murdery, not less.

Unless the plan is simply to fill any spare time the would-be-perp had allocated for nefariousness with tedious appraisal-based admin, in which case well played GMC. ‘Change of plans, Primrose; I can’t do any home visits this evening because I have to scan all my CME certificates into PDF format and Clarity keeps crashing.’

It’s not, of course. Revalidation exists primarily to give the impression of doing something to protect the public, and secondarily to support the cottage industry of appraisers, responsible officers and people-who-write-three-year-studies-which-conclude-the-bleeding-obvious that its existence has spawned.

In truth, I feel sorry for the researchers. Imagine spending three years interviewing doctors about their attitude to appraisal, only to find that the crass behaviour of your own organisation has fundamentally changed those attitudes JUST AS YOUR STUDY COMES OUT.

Never mind eh; at least they’ll have something to talk about in their appraisals.

Dr Pete Deveson is a GP in Surrey

Rate this article  (4.72 average user rating)

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Readers' comments (10)

  • Don’t underestimate the potential for the GMC to impose something even more onerous instead. The cocks.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Top Blog Pete.
    Don't forget however that revalidation IS useful.
    To the GMC, RCGP and other hangers on who need a raison d'etre.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • David Banner

    In 1977 Virgini Records had to go to court to prove that “bollocks” was fine Anglo Saxon and not an offensive swear word, hence the Sex Pistols album “Never Mind The Bollocks” was allowed to be released.
    I therefore state with no apology that Appraisal is a load of bollocks, and furthermore every GP I know agrees that it is bollocks. We don’t need any more’s just bollocks.
    Anyone else like to state that Appraisal is bollocks? Then please do, because the GMC don’t seem to be getting the message.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • And that useless bunch of cockwombles known as the BMA are doing precisely zilch to end this farce.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • XL Pete
    - and 'makes me feel more murdery' (for the attention of GMC fifth columnists, not of patients).
    & David Banner 'Appraisal is BOLLOCKS' (as admitted evidence gathered by GMC itself but in this instance they won't even listen to themselves).

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Malicious ineffective and sadly responsible ultimately for the demise of the profession they were tasked to support and improve. How do they sleep at night.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Clueless at the top... they get there because they dont want to work at the coal face/ portfolio etc .... they just want to tell others how to do their job perfectly in a world where the resources simply dont exist to do it properly, hence we are all left at medico legal risk whilst they get to sit in judgment (Hence our collective anger and fear over the Bawa-GArba case) .... hence the complete lack of respect for those at the top.... BOLLOCKS it is....

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I love a good bandwagon. Appraisal is BOLLOCKS!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • AlanAlmond

    Ovaries...that’s just to balance it up a bit.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Tantalus

    Errr.......appraisal is bollocks.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say