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PCTs must stump up cash for revalidation retraining, GMC chief warns

By Ian Quinn

Exclusive: It is likely to be up to individual PCTs to financially support GPs who require retraining under revalidation, and it is essential that they do so, the GMC has warned.

The new chief executive of the GMC, Niall Dickson, told Pulse it would be ‘a tragedy' if cost-cutting meant trusts refused to come up with the funding,

Mr Dickson, speaking ahead of this week's launch of the GMC's consultation on the revalidation process, insisted it would be invaluable for the profession, but admitted concerns over who would pay for remediation had made it ‘vulnerable' to critics.

‘How you [provide funding] will be decided presumably at a local level but we do think that there should be in place systems for supporting doctors.'

GP leaders have warned GPs who fail revalidation could face five-figure sums to cover remediation and could even withdraw support unless the issue is sorted out.

With revalidation pilots already underway involving 3,000 doctors, the RCGP and the BMA are urging the Department of Health to order trusts and deaneries to share the cost of funding.

Mr Dickson said: ‘There is a general fear that as we move into much tighter times that people stop focusing on quality and start simply focusing on costs. That would be a tragedy.'

Pulse reported last month that an early revalidation pilot in Merseyside in hospital doctors had revealed ‘clear concerns' about the scheme, with the BMA warning it could become a bureaucratic nightmare.

Mr Dickson said: ‘We have to answer that point and that's the point of having the pathfinder pilots. There is no point in us rolling out a system which is going to be disproportionate.'

‘But the short answer is we haven't got validated data based on that trial.'

Mr Dickson, formerly chief executive of the King's Fund, said he hoped the consultation would serve as a ‘wake up call' for those PCTs whose record on supporting GPs on issues such as appraisals was ‘patchy'.

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC deputy chair and a GP in Leeds, said: ‘We're constantly raising concerns about the lack of clarity over remediation. This is fundamental to revalidation going ahead. We've submitted a joint proposal with the RCGP that funding should be jointly made available from PCTs and deaneries. We need to see this considered before revalidation can go ahead.'

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson