I would like to counter Dr Mike Ashworth's opinion that revalidation is an insult to the professionalism of doctors (Revalidation is still an insult).
I feel we professionals should set an example to show that we are above reproach and not that we are above the law.
If I expect the staff of the railway company of which I am medical officer to pass a revalidation to continue working in safety-critical roles on a schedule starting every five years and increasing to annually – with medical examinations, fitness tests, vision testing, as well as rules tests – then I think they are more likely to co-operate with that if they see I am doing the same.
Conversely, while there are many doctors who practise with great skill and professionalism after the age of 80, there are some who need a gentle prod in their 50s and 60s to update in key areas, and even to consider dropping some responsibilities or retiring.
We could blame Shipman or those who reacted to the reports about him, but rather let's work on perfecting a process that will provide a solid foundation to base our professionalism in the future.
I accept revalidation is not perfect yet, but that means we should work to improve it, not run away from it.
From Dr David Church, Machynlleth, Wales