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GMC to commission independent review of revalidation

The GMC is to commission an independent review of revalidation to ‘refine the system’ once every doctor has been through it, its chief executive has told Pulse.

In a letter to Pulse, Professor Niall Dickson said that interim results from the 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’.

GP leaders welcomed the review, but said that revalidation continues to be a form of ‘regulatory overkill’.

Professor Dickson was responding to a Pulse story that revealed that only a handful of GPs had been put through remediation following revalidation, raising questions about the utility of the whole scheme.

He said that revalidation was a ‘process’ and not a case of doctors passing or failing.

He wrote: ‘It remains our ambition to work with the profession, employers and patient groups to refine the system once every doctor has been through it.

‘We have commissioned an independent evaluation and after interim results in January 2016, we should all be in a better position to assess the impact of the first wave of revalidation and how it can be improved and developed. ‘

The GPC welcomed the review.

Dr Dean Marshall, the GPC’s lead negotiator for revalidation issues, said: ’While it is sensible to review revalidation, now that we are a couple of years in, it depends on the criteria of the review and whether it includes appraisal which is the issue here.

‘While the GPC supports revalidation GPs have to jump through a lot of hoops for appraisal and the question is whether revalidation is a good use of everyone’s time.’

Dr Marshall also said that that the GPC would be looking closely at how ‘independent’ the review of revalidation actually was.

Meanwhile, Dr Peter Holden, a former GPC negotiator and GP in Matlock, Derbyshire, told Pulse that he hopes that the results of a review of revalidation will be ‘proof’ of what GP have been saying all along – that it is ‘regulatory overkill’.

He claimed that revalidation is one of the many reasons that GPs are leaving the profession.

‘I had a partner who left the profession six years ago aged 53, saying they were not going through the nonsense of revalidation. We are being crushed by regulatory burdens. I resent spending two weekends to get my appraisal completed – this is time that is taking us away from patient care.’

Revalidation was introduced in 2012 in the wake of a series of health scandals. But critics claim that the appraisal system has gone too far, increasing GPs’ workloads and regulatory burdens when the great majority of GPs do not need remediation.

GPs had previously complained that there was mounting evidence that the revalidation process was becoming a bureaucratic nightmare for some GPs.

The GMC promised that the whole process would take only a day to complete, but GP leaders have complained about 70-hour marathons to collect evidence.