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Revalidation 360 degrees feedback plans ‘reasonable’, researchers claim

Research published on the eve of the formal report into the revalidation pilots concludes the GMC's plans for feedback from patients and colleagues are ‘reasonable', despite reports from GPs that implementation of the scheme on the ground has been too time-consuming and bureaucratic.


The Department of Health is due to release the full results of the NHS revalidation pilots tomorrow, but Pulse can reveal that new research supports the GMC's plans to use ‘multi-source feedback' and backs full revalidation for locum GPs.

The positive finding comes after a troubled start to the pilots. Pulse reported earlier this year that GPs and consultants were ‘overwhelmingly negative' about the performance of the online revalidation toolkit. GPs reported being swamped by problems with navigation and spending hours struggling to get to grips with a system which has been prone to losing huge chunks of data.

A Pulse survey of GPs in May found a groundswell of opposition to revalidation amongst GPs, with over half opposed to the GMC's plans and more than one GP in 10 saying they intend to leave before the plans come into effect.

The study of 1,000 doctors (including almost 370 GPs), conducted by a team of researchers from the Peninsula Medical School and CFEP-UK, looked at whether the use of multi-source feedback from patients and colleagues was a valid way of gaining evidence regarding the performance of doctors.

The research, presented at last week's Society for Academic Primary Care conference, found the questionnaires had ‘good internal consistency' and that doctors rate their own practise lower than their colleagues' and patients' view of their clinical skills.

Professor John Campbell, professor of general practice and primary care at Peninsula Medical School in Exeter, concluded: ‘The GMC's patient and colleague questionnaires form a reasonable basis for providing evidence in respect of the revalidation of UK doctors.'

A separate study by researchers at the University of Warwick, of 520 English and Welsh GPs, was also presented at the conference and found that part-time GPs could produce revalidation portfolios ‘of comparable quality' to full-time counterparts.

‘Part-time GP locums may require assistance to collect supporting information, maybe through increased access to practice data and alternative data collection methods,' the research concluded.

The results of the studies will be a boost to proponents of revalidation ahead of the publication of the results of the NHS revalidation support team pilots, five of which involved primary care. The results of these pilots is due to be released tomorrow.