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Five steps to prepare for revalidation as a locum

Approximately 10% of Doctors have had their ‘licence to practice’ renewed by the GMC already. If you have not yet been through revalidation, this article outlines five steps for locums that will help to prepare for the process.

Find out when your revalidation date is

Ring the GMC or look at your GMC online account to find out the date you’ll go through revalidation. Most GPs will know nothing of the process until they receive their renewed ‘License to Practice’. There is no face-to-face interview with the Responsible Officer (RO) and if GPs have fulfilled the criteria they will complete everything needed for revalidation within their appraisals. The appraiser then passes on the information to the correct place and the RO’s team deal with it.

This is a process that happens without the GP’s involvement beyond that of engagement with the appraiser and fulfilling the criteria in advance of the appraisals.

If your RO hasn’t made a recommendation 10 days prior to your revalidation date, the GMC may send you a letter, but don’t panic: recommendations are accepted electronically up to one minute before the deadline. Just contact your RO’s team to ensure they are onto it.

Understand what the requirements are

There is a wealth of information available, but it can be difficult to know where to start. The Wessex LMCs Revalidation document and Sessional GP toolkit set out the requirements, as set by the GMC, clearly and simply.

You will need to have recorded Continuing Professional Development (CPD) that demonstrates you are up to date, across the scope of your practice.

You need to log, and be ready to discuss:

  • significant events and the learning from them
  • quality improvement activity
  • complaints and compliments.

You also need to conduct a colleague and a patient feedback survey once every five years.

Find a simple way of logging your CPD

During a working week, most doctors will see something that is slightly different or that they haven’t seen for a while. They will also have researched, or read articles in medical magazines, that enhance their medical knowledge. By recording these ‘pockets’ of learning most doctors will find they exceed the 50 hours per year the RCGP have suggested. Remember: keep the recording simple and proportionate. Try using the app Snitch to convert documents to pdf to easily upload alongside your learning notes.

Some learning will be incidental and some planned according to your needs. Some will be identified with your appraiser in your Personal Development Plan (PDP). Click here for guidance on how to develop a PDP.

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To help you identify gaps, use a self‑assessment tool such as the nPEP from the RCGP or the North Thames East Curriculum Checklist. It is important to use a variety of learning techniques, and to share up‑to‑date practice and ideas.

When recording your CPD, focus on how your clinical practice will change as a result.

Get your colleague and patient feedback surveys done

Plan ahead, it will take a while for colleagues to respond and patient survey results to be collated. Remember you must have discussed the results of both surveys with your appraiser before your revalidation date.

Questionnaires need to be administered, collated and analysed independently from the doctor and appraiser. Locum GPs worried about finding 12 colleagues able to comment, should not to limit themselves to doctors. Other staff including nurses and receptionists who see your notes and hear feedback from patients, are equally relevant. A personal request may increase your response rate.

For your patient feedback, choose a clinic or setting in which you are familiar, and ask reception staff for their help well in advance. Explain to patients that you need feedback about your performance today, not their normal GP.  Provide pens, and if the practice is happy to forward your forms, provide an appropriate envelope with sufficient prepaid postage. Check how many forms are sent off so you know how many to collect back.

Show you have done some quality improvement

RCGP guidance suggests that the main ways to demonstrate quality improvement (QI) are significant event analysis (SEA) and clinical audit.

However, the author adds that: ‘A broader range of activities can be submitted, including case discussions and briefer reviews of clinical and other work, if SEA or clinical audit information is not appropriate given your circumstances.’

In particular the guidance highlights that a locum, or out of hours doctor can undertake an ‘action audit’ in which the care of presenting cases, of a defined nature, is continually reviewed against pre-set criteria and standards, with continuous reflection and improvement recorded. For example you could keep a log of all referrals, and patients causing concern, and then follow them up on return to the practice and record the lessons learned from the outcomes.

The Wessex LMCs sessional toolkit contains many ideas you could use including for use in small groups. Contact your local deanery or set up a small group with ready-made modules to discuss in Problem-Based Small Group Learning (PBSGL) or another CPD group you belong to.

Laura Edwards is a sessional GP, medical director at Wessex LMCs and a co-author of Wessex LMCs’ Revalidation for GP Locums – A Practical Guide.