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GMC defers all GP revalidation this year

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The General Medical Council has announced an extension to GP revalidation dates eligible for deferral due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Previously, all revalidation dates scheduled from March until the end of September 2020 were deferred for a year to ‘free up vital time’ for GPs to respond to the virus.

But today the GMC announced that doctors with a revalidation date between 17 March 2020 and 16 March 2021 can now have their revalidation delayed for ‘up to a year’.

Recommendations for revalidation can now be made by a doctor’s responsible officer with ‘increased flexibility’ and ‘at any point from now up to a doctor’s new revalidation date’, it added.

However, the GMC said that ‘a missed appraisal as a result of the pandemic should not prevent a recommendation being made about a doctor’s revalidation.’

It said: ‘This means responsible officers can make a revalidation recommendation for a doctor with less than five annual appraisals, providing there is a legitimate reason for the missed appraisal and that other necessary supporting information has been collated.’

GMC chief Charlie Massey added that the deferral to revalidation dates will ‘help free up more time’.

He said: ‘The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented challenge and we are doing all we can to support doctors and employers. Deferring revalidation dates will help free up more time, allowing them to provide the best possible to care to patients.

‘We’ve also listened to responsible officers, who told us they would welcome flexibility in making recommendations to revalidate doctors whose dates have changed. So, we have agreed that those recommendations can be made at any time up to a doctor’s revised date.’

The GMC is writing to doctors affected by a change in revalidation dates with further information, it added.

It comes as RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall warned that general practice bureaucracy halted due to coronavirus – such as revalidation and appraisals – must not return to pre-pandemic levels.  

In March, NHS England said it ‘strongly recommended’ that GP appraisals were suspended, alongside the GMC’s announcement it was deferring revalidation.