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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