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New-look regulation will be ‘less adversarial’, says GMC chief

GMC ‘rethinking appraisal’ to become less box-ticking, says chief executive

Amid the current ‘rethink’ of GP regulation, the new-look version is going to be ‘less adversarial’, the GMC chief executive has said.

In a keynote speech at the GMC’s annual conference today, Charlie Massey said that the GMC would introduce changes as soon as the Government passes legislation for regulatory reform.

Mr Massey told the conference: ‘We also have a big opportunity ahead of us through forthcoming regulatory reform. Once the legislation is enacted, we will be able to make changes to our rules to make our processes faster, more focused, and less adversarial.

‘That will benefit patients, but should also make our regulatory processes less stressful for doctors and other people involved. It will allow us to simplify the way in which doctors can have their skills recognised.’

Mr Massey also said that the Covid pandemic has ‘forced us all to rethink appraisal, positioning it as less of a summative box-ticking exercise and more of a formative approach to help doctors reflect on and improve their practice’.

He added that he is ‘absolutely clear’ that regulation should be an ‘engine for improvement’ and that the GMC should not be limited to ‘making judgements after something has gone wrong’.

Among ways to cut unnecessary bureaucracy, the Government is currently evaluating a new process which would see GP appraisals lasting just 30 minutes.

At Pulse’s flagship conference in London last week, former health secretary Jeremy Hunt said the principle of people being up to date with training is ‘a really important one’, and that there is a ‘patient safety issue’ if people are not.

But he added that if appraisals are a ‘very bureaucratic process, then we should change the process’.

Mr Hunt said: ‘We should make it an easy process that does what it’s intended to do, rather than bog everyone down in bureaucracy.’

Proposals to slim down appraisals followed a Government call for healthcare staff to submit examples of unnecessary bureaucracy, which received more than 600 responses identifying 1,000 examples.

Last week, the GMC proposed a number of amendments to its Good Medical Practice guide, including a commitment to consider which ‘context’ a doctor was working in if a complaint arises.

Note: This article was updated at 10.40am on 5 May to reflect that Mr Massey was talking about the whole regulation process becoming ‘less adversarial’, not just appraisals as was previously stated.


Ian Taylor 5 May, 2022 9:06 am

Bin appraisals and give every doctor £500 to spend on training. Will do more to improve quality than the nonsense that is appraisal.

Michael Mullineux 5 May, 2022 9:56 am

With you Ian Taylor. They just cannot bear to admit that appraisals have been nothing more than a spurious box ticking exercise over many years. Mine have always been perfectly ‘pleasant’, but a waste of hours of my time. Most GPs have an enquiring professional attitude and are entirely self-motivating when it comes to learning and enhancing clinical skills. Those that do not (if they even exist) are perfectly capable of ticking the relevant appraisal boxes.

Patrufini Duffy 5 May, 2022 2:14 pm

And all GP appraiser “colleagues” should stop appraising. Get your pocket money elsewhere and stop endorsing a structured framework that essentially says “We don’t trust you”. Coming from politicians.

Kevlar Cardie 6 May, 2022 12:33 pm

“Less” ?

Why the HELL should it be adversarial at all ?

Patrufini Duffy 6 May, 2022 4:24 pm

If we say – there are 30,000 GPs. Each paying £420 + £65 for an appraisal platform.

= £485 / year x 30,000
= £14,550,000

Then add on the registrars, hospital colleagues and hey presto – we have BIG business.
It is a registered charity you know.
Yes Kevlar – “less” adversarial – ugly word for a Charity.
Of course it is – for tax purposes and nice wine and canapes.

David jenkins 7 May, 2022 10:49 am

two words that should be hard wired into your brain when the letters “GMC” are uttered:

bawa garba.

and as for appraisal – this was brought in as a result of shipman, and to ensure all doctors remained up to date.

two fundamental flaws in this thinking:

1 – it doesn’t ensure you are “up to date”

2 – most importantly there was NEVER AT ANY TIME any evidence that shipman was incompetent. far from it – he was very up to date, and there were no faults at all with his medical knowledge.

it is simply another box ticking excercise, introduced by the goverment, to attempt to control us and convince jo public that somthing is being done.

meanwhile, back on planet earth, medical services are being seriously disrupted with no visible benefit.

my last appraisal took well over a fortnight to get all the necessary data. because i was sheilding (chronic chest disease) i couldn’t go into a surgery. because i am “just a locum”, and therefore “not a proper doctor” the welsh nhs will not give me an nhs email address – so i can’t work remotely either because my connection is apparently “not secure”. how can i do a “practice improvement activity” when i can’t access any records or enter any premises – particularly when i work in 10 different location within a 20 mile radius ?

still – never mind. i now have a 1939 wolsely, a 1953 excelsior bike, and a 1953 lanchester leda all restored, and probably worth a few bob.

i’m 72 years old, been a GP since 1977, and i don’t need all this crap. if it carries on i shall probably go.

how many others are there in the uk ?

ticking time bomb methinks !!

Patrufini Duffy 7 May, 2022 1:49 pm

BEFORE YOU PRESS this link – be strong in the knowledge of why this organisation is never going to change it’s colours – it pays people well, with your money – not that you elected them – and why people in positions of “authority” are sitting comfortably, puppeteering your emotions and in no hurry to change things during their lifetime.

Dave Haddock 7 May, 2022 10:28 pm

Not just the GMC re Appraisal and Revalidation; the RCGP actively collude and profit from this nonsense.

S. Ali 11 May, 2022 10:22 pm

So they will be less adversarial by reducing threshold of FTP with a new version of GMP, wtf? I was actually banned/invite-rescinded by GMC anonymous PR from the same conference (online!) with threats of extra security, as I do not share their ideology.

Why not use a SMART plan and consider being less racist with suggestions from 1993?

At the same conference, Anton Emmanuel sneaked in a more important presentation Obviously the GMC Stasi/Gestapo will work to ensure it does not see the light of day unless the media is used against them -please re-tweet otherwise like the Hooper Pilot Report it will be hidden away.