The GMC has declared it is ‘pleased with progress’ after the first year of revalidation, despite more than one in 10 GPs having their revalidation deferred.
Figures released today by the regulator show that some 10,288 GPs have been revalidated in the first year of the scheme, while 1,171 GPs have had their revalidation deferred.
Responsible officers can recommend that a GP’s revalidation should be deferred if they cannot make a decision about the doctor’s revalidation on the basis of the information currently available to them. This could be because the doctor has provided incomplete supporting information, or because they are going through a local investigation or disciplinary process and the result will inform the responsible officer’s decision. Doctors can also request a deferral if they are on a career break or parental leave. Revalidation can be deferred for up to a year after the doctor’s original revalidation date.
The figures come days after a long-serving GPC negotiator launched a furious attack on revalidation, claiming GPs were routinely spending more than 40 hours preparing for appraisals and calling on the BMA to reconsider its support for the process.
However the GMC said the number of deferrals was ‘expected’ and instead opted highlighted the number of successful revalidations, which it said represented good progress on its target to revalidate one-fifth of all doctors by April 2014.
GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: ‘These are very early days but we are pleased with the progress made in the first year. This new system of checks is a world first and over time we believe it will make a significant contribution towards making sure patients in the UK receive safe, effective care.’
‘Already we see signs that it is making an impact with hospitals and other healthcare organisations recognising their responsibility, not only to make sure all their doctors have the attitude and skills to deliver high quality care, but also that they have the support and information they need to assess and reflect on their practice.’
‘There is more to do but this is about supporting doctors to provide the best possible care and making sure patients can have confidence in the care their doctors provide. We will develop the model, and we will listen and learn from the experience of those who use it as we do so. But this is a good start.’
The first six months saw the GMC focus on responsible officers and ‘GP leaders’, while revalidation of other GPs kicked off in earnest from April this year.