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GMC revalidation review to recommend changes for 2017

The GMC has launched its own review into revalidation, focusing on doctors’ experiences of revalidation, which will make recommendations for changes during 2017.

The review will draw on the evidence of the operation and impact of revalidation, and will be led by the chair of the GMC’s revalidation advisory board.

It comes after a barrage of criticism from the profession, with the GPC referring to the process as a ‘waste of time’.

Last year, the GMC commissioned an independent organisation to review revalidation – under the name ‘UMbRELLA’ – which is due to publish its interim findings in the spring.

This will feed into the review announced by the GMC today.

A statement from the regulator said: ‘The review will draw on evidence of the operation and impact of revalidation since it was launched in December 2012 and look forward to how it can be improved.

‘The aim will be to produce recommendations for changes during 2017.’

The review by Sir Keith Pearson, the chair of the revalidation advisory board, will focus on:

  • UK wide research into revalidation and appraisal and UK wide surveys completed since the introduction of revalidation
  • Data held by the GMC including breakdowns of revalidation figures and complaints received.
  • Doctors’ experiences of revalidation from previously published reports and interactions between doctors and the GMC’s liaison advisers
  • Available evidence detailing formal and informal feedback from Responsible Officers.
  • Reports on how appraisal and clinical governance are working in each country of the UK
  • Submissions by organisations including the four health departments, the medical Royal Colleges, the BMA, independent sector representatives, NHS England and the systems regulators and improvement bodies
  • Views from patients who have provided feedback to their doctor from available evidence.

In a letter to Pulse last year, Niall Dickson said that interim results from the UMbRELLA evaluation should be available in January 2016 whereupon the GMC would be ‘in a better position to assess the impact of the first wave of revalidation and how it can be improved and developed’.

As part of that review, the GMC launched a survey asking all doctors to ‘help shape the future of revalidation’, with a bulk of the questions focusing on how long doctors take to prepare for their appraisal.

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A history of GPs’ criticisms of revalidation

Dr Peter Holden quizzical

Dr Peter Holden quizzical

Dr Peter Holden quizzical

In 2013, GPC negotiator Dr Peter Holden warned GPs are now routinely spending more than 40 hours preparing for appraisals in an outspoken attack on revalidation ‘overkill’, calling for the wider BMA to ‘get some balls’ in dealing with the controversial process.

A year later, even CQC chief inspector of primary care Professor Steve Field stuck the boot in, saying he has ‘no confidence at all’ in the ability of the revalidation process after finding cases where there was ‘very little evidence’ that revalidated GPs were staying up to date.

Pulse then revealed in 2015 that fewer than 1% of GPs in England had gone through the remediation process as a result of revalidation in the first year of its implementation – leading the GPC to brand it a ‘waste of time’.