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GPs buried under trusts' workload dump

Revealed: Revalidation will cost £97m a year

The Department of Health has published a long awaited impact assessment for revalidation, revealing that the scheme will cost doctors over £450 in ‘opportunity costs’ per revalidation cycle and will only prevent 0.75% of cases of death, severe harm and moderate harm per year.

The impact assessment reveals the scheme will cost a total of £97m a year, the majority of which accounts for the added pressures on doctors’ time.

The impact assessment said that there will be two main costs for revalidation: those associated  with undertaking appraisals and making revalidation decisions.

The costs of the decision-making process would be relatively low, the Government said, and would mainly relate to the work of 700 responsible officers and the extra demands on the GMC.

The largest cost will be for 27% of doctors who are not currently appraised, which will be £1,200 per year in ‘opportunity costs’, the assessment said.

For individual doctors, the cost will be £458 every five years for the multi-source feedback in actual costs and time lost.

The assessment said that this will prevent 0.75% of cases of death, severe harm and moderate harm per year.

The Department of Health released its impact assessment on revalidation today, after announcing last month that it was to be rolled out nationally from April.

It says: ‘Extensive testing and piloting has shown that the policy is expected to result in average overall costs of around £97m per year in England, over the ten-year period starting in 2013.

‘The large majority of these costs result from “opportunity costs” in terms of doctors’ time.

‘Most doctors will already have time allocated to non-clinical activities and will be regularly reflecting on and improving their practice – revalidation provides a framework to enable that time to be used more effectively.’

Dr Andrew Mimnagh, chair of Sefton LMC, said: ‘This seems an extremely large amount of money to cover a small number of occurrences.

‘As a profession I am all for ensuring higher standards but I am not sure the public are getting value for money.’

Dr Dan Poulter, a health minister and a former hospital doctor, wrote in the Guardian: ‘The evidence published today shows that this cost is outweighed by the enormous benefits that regular fitness to practise reviews will bring – increased trust in doctors, safer care, fewer claims for clinical negligence and positive cultural change in the profession.’

Story updated 17:00

Readers' comments (8)

  • It's easy for "Dr" Dan Poulter to say the costs are insignificant when he is trying (and succeeding) to push the burden onto our shoulder.

    So yet again we are expected to pay more to have ourselves scrutinized for the pleasure of the public.

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  • I assume the costs to GPs of 360deg questionnaires and time processing all this isn't included.......

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  • Frankly, a bout a billion pounds over 10 years seems a bit steep for something that rewards writers of creative English, and might yet penalise the brutally honest.
    I also object to the fact that 'managers' are excluded from this process despite the fact that many of them are very much more responsible for the decimation of the NHS than I am.
    As for constant 'reflection'....oh, please, spare me.

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  • What utter bollocks. Patients won't care two hoots about revalidation. It won't make them feel safer, it won't make practice significantly safer, but they WILL complain if it reduces access to GP services further - and the indications are it will do exactly that. An impact assessment of something that has yet to happen is not "evidence" Dr Poulter, it is purely conjecture and based on talking to those who believe it will be a good thing (but have no idea about what will really happen). I am willing to bet that patients won't be happier and that complaints will actually increase.

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  • Can't wait to retire!

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  • Now if Jimmy Saville had been a GP ....
    Yes he would be revalidated. Beyond Kafka...

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  • There is no evidence based research to establish Dr Dan Poulter's statements. I suspect he plucked them from thin air.

    The facts are as follows
    1. The GMC was at fault for Dr Harold Shipman
    2. The GMC was never revalidated or improved despite numerous disasters there. What did happen is that the entire profession of doctors had to pay for the mistakes of the GMC.
    3. The Chair has admitted that revalidation won't protect from another Shipman. So why are we doing it then? Some kind of lip service event to show the public that all is well? Or just another way of making life impossible for doctors in an arena where life is now becoming increasingly hard.

    My view is this, revalidation of doctors should be stopped. They are already competent enough. The real difference to patient safety would be made if the GMC was revalidated, re-invented and appraised. Then they could do what their previous motto suggested - protect patients.

    Dr Rita Pal

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  • As i understand it, jimmy saville reminds me of , wait for it- harold shipman, possibly too old to practice. Doctors go through enough training evaluation, why would you want to creat a rod for your back. You should be paying attension to what new impliments are going to affect not just patients, but doctores as well. you dont want your ship to run aground and get stranded, now do you. From what i can see there's new health care stratergy coming in to place, which is designed to ease the work load from doctors

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