The RCGP is currently trialling a new GPs-with-extended-roles accreditation, which will replace the special interest certification and require GPs to undergo an annual appraisal.
An accreditation framework has been developed by the college, in collaboration with NHS England, to outline the routes to accreditation, the standards that are expected and how the appraisals will work.
According to the RCGP, a consistent process for accreditation and re-accreditation has been lacking ‘since the dissolution of Primary Care Trusts in 2013’.
The report has defined extended practice as any activity that is ‘beyond the scope of GP training and the MRCGP exam’ and cannot be undertaken without further training.
It added that this qualification should ‘help to address areas of significant patient need’.
The extended roles accreditation involves an annual scope of practice appraisal, replacing the three-year re-accreditation seen in the previous scheme.
This will require GPs to provide evidence that they are maintaining their requisite knowledge and competencies, and that their skills are up to date.
An annual appraisal portfolio must also be provided which will include evidence related to CPD, patient and colleague feedback, as well as complaints and compliments.
RCGP chair Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard said: ‘The college, with support from NHS England, has developed a new framework to support the accreditation of GPs with Extended Roles, previously referred to as GPs with Special Interests.
‘This framework explains that the appraisal and revalidation processes provide a mechanism for GPwERs to demonstrate continued competence in their extended role – something that has not been explicit previously’.
Although the RCGP has said it will not accredit all extended roles, it confirmed its intention to work with other ‘reputable organisations’ to set appropriate standards.
The college is currently trialling an extended role in dermatology and skin surgery, but aims to ‘phase in accreditation’ in priority areas following the results of this test run.
Definition of a GP with an extended role (GPwER)
A GPwER is a GP who undertakes, in addition to their core general practice, a role that is beyond the scope of GP training and the MRCGP, and requires further training.
The extended role is typically undertaken within a contract or setting that distinguishes it from standard general practice and/or it is an activity offered for a fee outside of care to the registered practice population (teaching, training, research, occupational medicals, medico-legal reports, cosmetic procedures, etc).