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Revalidation will ‘increase patients’ confidence in doctors’, GMC survey finds

By Gareth Iacobucci

Over two thirds of patients say they will have more confidence in their GP once revalidation is introduced, according to a survey commissioned by the GMC.

The poll of more than 2,000 UK residents, conducted by market researchers Opinion Matters, asked patients how confident they had felt in the last doctor they had seen and if their confidence would increase if they knew their doctor had been regularly subjected to thorough appraisal.

Although the vast majority (86%) reported a high level of confidence in the skills and knowledge of the last doctor they saw, almost one in six (14%) said they did not have confidence in the last doctor they saw.

The poll suggests that revalidation will help ease concerns where they exist, with more than 70% of patients who were not confident in their last doctor agreeing that revalidation would increase their confidence.

Even those who expressed confidence in their last doctor said revalidation would increase this further, with 69% of those who were quite confident and 63% of those who were very confident agreeing it would make a difference.

The survey comes as the GMC continues to consult on how revalidation will work, ahead of the publication of its findings in June.

There was also overwhelming support for revalidation to include feedback from their patients, with 95% agreeing that feedback from patients should be taken into account in reviewing a doctor’s practice.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: ‘We know that patients in this country justifiably trust their doctors and that is vital for good medical practice. But many also think that every doctor is already subjected to regular checks, and this is not the case – what this poll shows is that they would welcome further assurance.’

‘We believe the new system of revalidation will achieve that by showing that their doctor is up to date and fit to practise. It should become an integral part of high quality care throughout the UK and if we get it right we will lead the world.’

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson: ‘If we get it right we will lead the world’ GMC chief executive Niall Dickson: ‘If we get it right we will lead the world’