Cookie policy notice

By continuing to use this site you agree to our cookies policy below:
Since 26 May 2011, the law now states that cookies on websites can ony be used with your specific consent. Cookies allow us to ensure that you enjoy the best browsing experience.

This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

The introduction of revalidation is the reason I am finally retiring

  • Print
  • Comments (13)
  • Save

Governments always use catastrophes to increase their power, and in the NHS we have seen a number of significant policy changes that have been introduced in order to achieve their aims.

In general practice we have seen this coming for a while, and the murdering exploits of a psychopath who happened to be a GP has been used (with the help of a legally qualified stooge) to develop a process of control of all doctors, with the introduction of the system of revalidation. Ostensibly, this was to ‘prevent another Shipman happening’, but is actually about subjugating a whole profession.

Revalidation is now, finally, upon us. The first version of the process will be cuddly, and non-threatening, and colleagues will say to me, ‘What are you worried about? - I’ve done it and it isn’t too bad.’

They are correct in what they say that the first version will not be too arduous. We will get revalidation creep: in five years you will have your use of social media supervised, and your non-work activities monitored. If you are a whistleblower, reporting poor care or management decisions that directly damage patients, there will be ways found to silence you such as threatening your registration.

Much in medicine still fascinates me, and as I approach the end of my career, I feel genuine regret that I am finally hanging up my stethoscope. At the age of 60, I have many years of usefulness ahead of me. However, all this has been ground out of me, and I am leaving medicine altogether in 13 weeks’ time.

When I qualified, the essence of being a professional person was that you behaved and acted like a professional doctor, you always did your best for your patients and worked the time that was necessary to do the job. You never looked at the clock, and just got on with it. You were answerable to your patients, the reputation of the hospital or practice, and were judged by your peers.

I remember the old General Medical Council. It was pretty much of an old boys’ club, but there were people on it who were the best in our profession, and who I looked up to. We were able to elect the membership of the organisation, and that gave it a democratic mandate, and the respect of the profession.

The GMC hasn’t been perfect and has made mistakes down the years: some said that it over favoured doctors, and closed ranks and protected us, but it never felt like that to me. I am pleased that I have never had any direct dealings with it. I hope that it stays that way.

Now, if you look at the GMC it has no democratic mandate, has a minority of the profession on the committees, and takes its orders from the Department of Health. It is simply a branch of the executive, and control has been wrested away from the profession and given to civil servants and politicians. This may not be formally de jure, but it is de facto.

The introduction of revalidation is the reason I am finally retiring, and not staying on to give my expertise and knowledge to medicine. It feels to me like a betrayal of the whole profession, and we have allowed ourselves to be manoeuvred into a position of weakness and vulnerability, and have debased ourselves as professionals.

This process could not have happened without the acquiescence of senior members of the profession. They are guilty of collusion in this control-freakery. We are left to rue the damage this will do.

The Jobbing Doctor is a GP in a deprived urban area of England. You can follow him on Twitter @jobbingdoctor.

Readers' comments (13)

  • I am joining you too. I am retiring 5 years earlier though and in just 8 weeks 3 days time.

    I simply cannot face a future controlled by bureaucracy and the box ticking culture. The thought of more hoops to jump through to keep the Can't Quite Cope teams happy and revalidation has all helped me decide to go.
    CCG's will be made to take the flack for the shortfall in service and people will be encouraged to demand more from their GPs who, after all, are overpaid and ' don't even have to work all week nights and weekends anymore'

    I will take a 25% cut in pension but I will be free. I have enjoyed my carerr as a GP but without doubt was fortunate enough to work as one towards the end of its hay days.

    As to the future for General Practice. I doubt it will exist in the form we would recognise in the future. Few young GPs will want to take on a partnership along with all the hassle it involves with CQC, QOF, employment law etc etc etc. They will be employed in their droves by Private Companies who will dictate what they do and when they do it, to maximise their profits. Older GP's will follow me and get out asap with early retirement once they have paid off their debts. Medical students should avoid a career in General Practice in the UK and either emigrate to Canada, USA , Australia or New Zealand or work in a speciality where they can do private work on their own terms.

    i wish you all well in the future.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Shame on those who have made a good enough living out of the NHS to be able to cop out now

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • susanne Stevens | 05 February 2013 5:11pm

    Shame on those who have made a good enough living out of the NHS to be able to cop out now
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    I resent this comment. For the first 6 years of my life as a doctor I worked a 1:2 rota. When the 'other half ' was away it was a 1:1 rota for 10-12 weeks of the year.

    Assuming a 40 hour week as average then for every year I worked it was the equivalent of around 3 years work for anybody else.

    Don't say, being on call is not work. Many of those nights were disturbed and the following day was a normnal working day. We would work from 8am on Friday until 6pm on Monday without a break!

    If you are saying I am coping out then you are so so wrong.

    As a GP I have worked in small practices where once again I provided 24 hour cover continuously for days on end. When partners were away or ogg ill then once again I was it.

    It is attitudes like this that make it even easier for me to to retire early. If Susanne Stevens works as a doctor then I wish her well and hope the European Working Directive is scrapped and she can enjoy the pleasure and commitment of 24 a day and 365 days a year responsibility.

    Good luck.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Mark Struthers

    I agree wholeheartedly with Dr Jobbing that the GMC "takes its orders from the Department of Health" ...

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This comment has been moderated

  • susanne Stevens | 05 February 2013 5:11pm

    Shame on those who have made a good enough living out of the NHS to be able to cop out now

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    I think it is called taking your pension. It is rather a novel concept whereby you put aside some of the money you earn whilst working and your employer adds a contribution as well.

    I suppose all pensioners are copping out to one extent or another.

    Of course if Ms Stevens thinks this is not for her she can always give her pension to charity or even better, not contribute towards a scheme in the first place.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Mark Struthers

    Dr Jobbing is absolutely right about the DoH. Under orders from the Department of Health, the GMC did in Professor John Walker-Smith,

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2012/mar/07/mmr-row-doctor-appeal

    This disgraceful case provides evidence of outrageous behaviour by the establishment and the medical mandarins at the DoH. I can understand why Dr Jobbing wants out.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • susanne Stevens | 05 February 2013 5:11pm

    Shame on those who have made a good enough living out of the NHS to be able to cop out now xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Sad to see this judgemental attitude in print. Without any knowledge of the individual concerned. Not a medic surely.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • there will be no nhs left if everybody with who works overtime etc cops out ...it's not not just medics who are groaning under the weight

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Revalidation should be legally challenged by judicial review as it almost certainly contravenes the Equality Act 2010.

    No appropriate equality Impact Assessments have been conducted before Revalidation was introduced. The requirements for revalidation of licence to practice will be much more difficult for ethnic minority doctors in particular to satisfy as they are more likely to work as locums and will find it much more difficult to obtain employer appraisals, MSFs and patient surveys.

    The requirement of employer appraisals for revalidation will also have a major impact in discouraging whistle blowing as doctors will not want to jeopardise there licence to practice. With the increasing likelihood of us working for cost cutting private sector employers in the future, one shudders to think of the potential dangers to patients if doctors cannot highlight safety concerns.

    The BMA must bring an action for judicial review of revalidation to prevent its potential horrendous consequences for the doctors and the public. We must prevent future scandals even bigger than the current Mid Staffs fiasco where concerns were raised but the authorities did not act..

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • WHAT IS THERE re-validate some one who practices for 36 years with no complaints and glowing referance from patients and collagues

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

View results 10 results per page20 results per page

Have your say

  • Print
  • Comments (13)
  • Save