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Revalidation guidance ‘to stay’ says GMC

By Gareth Iacobucci

GPs should not expect any further changes to list of areas they must collect evidence in for revalidation, following the GMC's recent 'streamlining' of its guidance, its chief executive has revealed.

GMC chief Niall Dickson told Pulse that the recently released guidance, which has condensed the areas for evidence gathering into six domains, was unlikely to face any major changes before the introduction of revalidation towards the end of 2012.

He said the content of the guidance had been agreed with all royal colleges, despite the GMC overruling the RCGP's advice on the suggested number of significant event audits GPs should carry out.

He said: 'This guidance has been agreed by all parties. I hope people recognise that while this does provide a broad framework, it shouldn't be a straightjacket or a tick-box exercise.'

On significant events, where the GMC and RCGP were at odds on what GPs should collect, he said the GMC had simply applied 'common sense'.

While the college had suggested 10 significant event audits across the five-year revalidation cycle, the GMC was less prescriptive, saying: 'It is the content and what you learnt, rather than the number which should be the focus in appraisal.'

He said: 'It's not about trying to reach a certain number of events. The whole basis of supporting information is not to have to tick a certain number of boxes. It is to encourage self-reflective practice. It is the application of common sense. We don't want GPs to have to say, "I've got seven, I need three more".'

GPs also have to gather evidence from continuing professional development, quality improvement activity, feedback from colleagues, feedback from patients (where applicable), and reviews of complaints and compliments.

Mr Dickson said clinical audits could focus on monitoring GPs referral patterns to identify 'whether they were consistent outliers', and on prescribing.

The guidance was launched in response to feedback to the GMC's consultation on revalidation, where the Government called for the process to be less bureaucratic and burdensome on doctors.