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GMC review into revalidation to focus on time spent preparing by doctors

The GMC has 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.

The survey – which the GMC has sent out to 160,000 doctors – forms part of the regulator’s independent review of revalidation, which chief executive Niall Dickson revealed on Pulse.

As the part of the survey, doctors are specifically asked to detail the time they take to prepare for their revalidation appraisal and to also give details of the time they spent on their appraisal before the introduction of revalidation in 2012.

The full findings of the research are not expected to be published until 2018, but Professor Dickson has told Pulse that the regulator will act on the interim results, which are being published in January 2016.

The survey asks doctors to estimate ‘how many hours per week they spent on activities that informed to the appraisal’, and also they ‘spent less or more time on preparing for the appraisal’ before revalidation was introduced.

The time it takes to prepare for the controversial process of revalidation has previously come under fire by the GPC, when Dr Peter Holden, a former GPC negotiator and GP in Matlock, Derbyshire, told Pulse that some GPs were being forced to spend 40 hours on revalidation preparation.

At the time, in 2013, Dr Holden warned that a revolt against revalidation was looming, and claimed that the GMC needed to ‘grow some balls’ over the issue and tackle the burden that the process presents to GPs.

Since then, the GMC’s revalidation process has been further criticised after an NHS report revealed that doctors are having to spend far longer on the revalidation process than had originally been expected.

However, the GMC’s chief executive Niall Dickson recently told Pulse that ‘revalidation was not a waste of time’ and that the regulator’s review of the process will allow the GMC to ‘refine the process’.

GPC chair Dr Vautrey told Pulse that the GPC welcomed the GMC’s intentions to hear the views of GPs on revalidation, but warned that the findings should be ‘seriously acted upon’.

Dr Vautrey said: It’s good that the GMC are asking all doctors and appraisers about their experience of appraisal and how the introduction of revalidation has impacted on that.

‘It’s a long survey for busy GPs to complete when they’ve already got a huge workload burden, often added to by the requirements of appraisal and revalidation, but it does provide a good way of feeding back the many concerns GPs have about the current system.

‘If doctors are going to spend a lot of time completing this it is important that the GMC takes the findings seriously and acts upon them.’