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Why I am quitting as an appraiser

Letter of the week

From Dr Adam Pringle,

Telford, Shropshire

I wish to put it on public record that I have resigned from the RCGP, and from my position as an appraiser in order to comply with the probity section of appraisal and, presumably, of revalidation.

I have yet to meet either a doctor in active clinical practice, or a scientist, who finds any merit in the Chief Medical Officer's proposals for revalidation. The fundamental flaw, which he identifies himself, is there is no agreed definition of a good doctor and no valid test for one. A system supposed to separate the good from the bad and that will discriminate reliably enough to remove doctors from clinical practice, even in the absence of a single patient complaint, cannot succeed when the object it is measuring remains undefined.

The welcome of these proposals by the colleges can be explained

in three ways – new stream of income from unfortunate members has affected their judgment, or their scientific judgment is seriously flawed, or they are joined in a folie en masse.

No responsible clinician should be associating with an organisation that is either motivated by greed or led by fools, and so I feel obliged to resign on probity grounds, and would encourage all my colleagues to do the same.

Equally, we were clearly told that appraisal was to be a formative process, not a summative one, yet within three years we find this is untrue. Formative and summative processes are quite different,

and I cannot remain part of a summative process that has been introduced so dishonestly, without risking moral corruption, and hence have resigned again.

RCGP subscriptions all fall due in April, and a summative appraisal system cannot be delivered without quisling appraisers. I would encourage all my colleagues to take the only two practical steps they can to derail this corrupt monster, which will otherwise reward political appointees at the expense of clinicians, without delivering any benefit to either doctors or patients.

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