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GPs should adjust CPD ‘according to time spent with children’

GPs should be forced to gain 'appropriately validated' points for CPD that reflects the proportion of the time they spend with children and young people, say Department of Health advisers.

The recommendations in a Government-commissioned report are aimed at improving health outcomes in children and young people, but have been called inappropriate ‘micromanaging' by the GPC.

The report, published last month by the Children and Young People's Health Outcomes Forum, found that ‘too many health outcomes for children and young people are poor' and laid out a series of recommendations.

These included that the royal colleges work together to agree skills and competencies in child health, all general practices appoint a medical and nursing lead for children and young people and that GPs should gain appropriate CPD.

The report says: ‘All GPs who care for children and young people should have appropriately validated CPD reflecting the proportion of time spent with children and young people.'

Forum joint chair Christine Lenehan, director at the Council for Disabled Children, said the findings of the report should feed into the wider children's strategy that is being developed for the NHS.

She said: ‘This report needs to form the basis of a wider children and young people's health outcomes strategy, which needs to be owned by all organisations in the health system and beyond who have a responsibility for improving the health and wellbeing for this group.'

But the RCGP and other GP leaders have attacked the proposals as too prescriptive.

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC negotiator and a GP in Leeds, said it was important that GPs maintain CPD across the range of clinical experience.

He said: ‘It is inappropriate to be specific about one aspect of their work because you could start to be specific about all aspects and micromanage CPD, which would be completely inappropriate.

‘If GPs also had a set amount of time for their work with the elderly or for management of people with learning difficulties, this would go on and on.'

RCGP chair Dr Clare Gerada said the proposals went too far, and the important thing was not the amount of CPD, but the learning GPs took from it.

She said: ‘We are not prescriptive about the CPD a GP undertakes, but advise that it should enable them to ensure they keep up to date with new and changing knowledge, that it should span a variety of areas and methods of learning and should reflect the needs of the patient population as well as the individual GP and the practice they undertake.

‘We make no recommendation that any of the CPD should be certificated or validated, because for revalidation and development purposes we stress the need for reflection on the learning and its impact on patients, the GP and their team.'

Dr Robert Morley, chair of Birmingham LMC, said: 'This is typically Ignorant nonsense. It is down to individual GPs to determine how they determine their CPD needs, in discussion with their appraisers; we are professionally answerable to the GMC for this, and not to the latest group of so-called experts telling us how to do our jobs.'

Dr Paul Roblin, chief executive of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire LMCs, said: ‘CPD is meant to be spread across the range of clinical experience, that is a given. But as a generalist, you can't concentrate on any one aspect of medicine to the exclusion of others.'

A Department of Health spokesperson said it would look at the report in detail: ‘We welcome the report and acknowledge the comprehensive and wide-ranging approach that the forum used in developing its findings, conclusions and recommendations.

‘Over the next few months, we will be working with organisations within the wider health and care system to agree a joint response to the forum's report and will also be publishing the children's and young people's strategy.'