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Revalidation ‘less threatening’ than feared, says GPC

By Gareth Iacobucci

The GPC has predicted that revalidation will be ‘much less threatening' than originally feared, despite unanswered questions over how the process will impact upon GPs.

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman said the launch of the GMC's consultation on revalidation had alleviated some of the BMA's concerns about the extent to which GPs will struggle to navigate the process.

He predicted that ‘2% might need their records looked at' to successfully pass through the five-year cycle, a far lower proportion than initial estimates, revealed by Pulse, which suggested that 5-14% of GPs would require some form of remediation.

‘We would urge GPs to read the consultation document. It's much less threatening than precursor documents,' he said.

‘The president of the GMC is on record several times as saying he hopes it will be non-threatening, and that most GPs will make it. 2% might need their records looked at. That doesn't mean they won't be revalidated, it will be something that needs further looking at.'

However, despite the more positive noises coming from the BMA, Dr Buckman said the association would stand firm on its ‘seven lines in the sand' – which it says must in place before revalidation can take place.

These include stipulations that the process must be properly financially supported, feasible, fit for purpose and not excessive.

The Department of Health is so far yet to indicate how remediation will be funded.

Dr Buckman said the GPC's ‘major concerns' remained concentrated on how sessional doctors and peripatetic locums would be affected.

‘Some of the things the GMC want done are very difficult to do if you don't stay put,' he said. ‘We're going to have to help the GMC understand that. We can't have a process which punishes one kind of doctor or makes it difficult for one kind of doctor to revalidate.'

‘We still have our seven lines in the sand. We've made it absolutely clear to the people running revalidation that, if these aren't on there, we can't go ahead with it.

‘I think the profession should be less scared, although still very wary because there's a lot we don't know.'

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: 'We all still have a great deal to do to ensure that revalidation works in practice and commands the support of the profession but it is good news that the consultation paper does seem to have alleviated many concerns.

'We are working closely with the BMA and others to develop a system that works for everyone involved.

'We need to understand the views of all of those affected so that revalidation is proportionate and flexible. We believe good clinical governance at local level is an indispensable part of quality medical care – and it is on that platform revalidation will be built.'

Dr Laurence Buckman