The NHS has made ‘impressive' progress on preparing for the rollout of revalidation, with the majority of GPs linked with a responsible officer and an organisation that will assess their competence to practise from next year.
In a crucial report into the readiness of the NHS for revalidation of doctors, the NHS Revalidation Support Team says over 90% of GPs had participated in an annual appraisal in 2011-12.
Almost 100% of GPs are linked to a responsible officer who has received appropriate training and 96% of GPs are now covered by designated bodies that have an appraisal policy that is compliant with the requirements of revalidation, the survey concluded.
The report will form the basis of the health secretary's final decision on whether to go ahead with revalidating all doctors from the end of this year.
It comes after BMA chair Dr Mark Porter admitted revalidation is ‘not going to be perfect from the start' and that the profession may have to proceed without all issues the union is fighting for being resolved.
But in a letter to SHA and PCT chief executives and medical directors, NHS medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh highlighted a number of areas that needed to be strengthened before revalidation could go ahead. These included the procedures for remediation and appraisal rates for hospital doctors.
Dr Martin Shelly, director of implementation at the NHS Revalidation Support Team, said: ‘Substantial progress has been made over the last year, with improvements in all measured key indicators.
‘The appraisal rates in primary care are impressive. However, a number of areas still need to be strengthened and we now have a very clear line of sight on what remains to be done.'
Health secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘It is good to see that the vast majority of doctors are linked to organisations ready to support them with revalidation.
‘It is important we regularly review that doctors are fit to practise, to ensure patients continue to receive the best treatment possible.'
The GMC declared itself ‘ready' for revalidation last month, and signalled its intention to stick to its intended timetable and have everything ready to go in December.
What the report shows:
- 100% of GPs are linked to a responsible officer and almost 100% are linked to a responsible officer who has received appropriate training
- 96% of GPs are now covered by designated bodies with an appraisal policy that is compliant with the requirements of revalidation
- 98% of GPs are now covered by designated bodies with sufficient numbers of trained medical appraisers
- 98% of GPs are covered by designated bodies with a process for investigation of capability, conduct, health and fitness to practise concerns
- 46% of GPs are covered by designated bodies with a policy for re-skilling, rehabilitation, remediation and targeted support that is compliant with the responsible officer regulations