When revalidation was finally given the go-ahead to get under way in December, everyone agreed it had taken an age to come about – the only debate was just how long that was. According to an official timeline, the current proposals were first mooted in 1999 following the Bristol Heart Inquiry. But when the hand of history is on your shoulder, there’s no point in being shy. The Department of Health press release trumpeted the fact that ‘regular checks were first recommended over 30 years ago’; the GMC went one better and hailed it as ‘the biggest change in how doctors are regulated for more than 150 years’. Either way, if we’ve waited this long it had better be good.
When the 2013/14 GP contract talks imploded in October and the health secretary announced he planned to impose a deal anyway, it was a moment of high drama – but it soon became apparent this was a drama that would progress very, very slowly. Having put GPs on notice that he planned to radically change how their practices were funded, Mr Hunt declined to give any details for more than a month. Now the GPC is taking time to look at the detail, and surveys and roadshows are planned deep into 2013. With the MPIG phase-out not due to conclude until 2021, this one could run and run.