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Dilemmas: Revalidation

Medico-legal advisors comment on three GPs’ dilemmas about how locums will go through revalidation, what to do if you’re under investigation by your PCT, and what to do about unfounded complaints.

Dr Caroline Fryar, medico-legal adviser with the MDU and Dr John Holden, senior medical adviser with the MDDUS, answer three revalidation dilemmas

I am a locum GP and cover sessions at a variety of GP practices. I still don’t know my designated body or responsible officer. What should I do?

Dr Fryar says ‘If you are a locum on a performers’ list, your designated body will be the primary care organisation that manages this list.

‘You should contact the responsible officer at the relevant PCO and check if you are already on their list of doctors to be scheduled for revalidation.

‘The GMC has an online tool to help doctors in doubt find their designated body, which is accessible from the revalidation section on its website. If you discover you are one of the small minority of doctors who do not have a designated body to connect to, you should inform the GMC by logging onto your GMC Online account, selecting the “My Revalidation” tab and clicking on the “I don’t have a designated body” button. You will be asked for further information so that the GMC can advise you.’

My primary care organisation is investigating my performance. Will this prevent me from revalidating?

Dr Fryar says ‘If the matter is still being investigated when your revalidation is scheduled, it is likely your responsible officer will request that your date be deferred.

‘In its protocol for responsible officers, the GMC says that deferral requests apply to doctors “participating in ongoing local HR or disciplinary processes, the outcome of which you will need to consider prior to making your recommendation”. Your responsible officer will be asked to specify the length of the deferral, which can be up to a year.

‘Once the investigation is complete, you will still be able to revalidate, provided the findings do not cast doubt on your fitness to practise. It will be important to demonstrate that you have reflected on what happened and any lessons you have learnt and be prepared to discuss this during your next appraisal.’

A complaint was made against me which I feel was unfounded. The patient concerned was eventually removed from the practice list. Will this breakdown of relationship with a patient will count against me in my appraisal?

Dr Holden says ‘In order to recommend you for revalidation, the responsible officer will need to be satisfied that there are no unresolved concerns about your performance as a doctor.

‘Details of the complaint should be provided as part of your supporting information during your appraisal, including a description of events that resulted in the complaint and the actions and outcomes that followed – all supported with proper notes. The supporting information should show how you are meeting the principles and values set out in the GMC’s Good Medical Practice.

‘If there are no unresolved concerns about your performance and the complaint made against you didn’t lead to any further actions at the time (for example, a complaint to the GMC), then the appraiser may be satisfied the issue is resolved.

‘If, however, your appraiser or responsible officer believes this incident raises serious concerns about your fitness to practise, the responsible officer may be unable to recommend you for revalidation or may defer the decision.’

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