By Richard Staines
Health secretary Andy Burnham has officially launched the first pilots for revalidation, with 3,000 doctors across 10 regions due to be appraised on the quality and safety of their care.
Mr Burnham said he hoped that the new system will be as rigorous as that in the airline industry, where pilots are tested more than 100 times in their careers for competency.
Mr Burnham urged GPs to learn from the example of Chesley Sullenberger, the hero pilot who saved 150 lives a year ago by successfully ditching his stricken plane in the Hudson River in New York.
He wrote in the Daily Telegraph: ‘Like Sullenberger, doctors are always learning, picking up new insights and experiences to help them improve care for their patients.’
‘A stronger assessment system will not only improve safety and boost public trust in doctors, it will also give all doctors the structure to develop and improve their skills throughout their careers.’
The first pilots begin this month and will run until next March, with full testing of the process late in 2011 or early in 2012. Two of the pilot sites, London Deanery and NHS Dorset, focus entirely on primary care.
GMC chair Professor Peter Rubin said: ‘For the vast majority of doctors in this country appraisal will confirm what they already do: keep their skills and knowledge up to date and demonstrate high levels of professionalism every day of their working lives.’
‘However, an effective system of appraisal will also mean that doctors will have the opportunity to reflect on their practice and identify learning needs.’
‘The doctors who take part in these important pilots will play a vital role in helping to shape a key part of revalidation.’
Professor Peter Rubin: ‘The doctors who take part in these important pilots will play a vital role in helping to shape a key part of revalidation’ Professor Peter Rubin: ‘The doctors who take part in these important pilots will play a vital role in helping to shape a key part of revalidation’