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Good riddance to revalidation

Pulling the funding for the appraisal toolkit will mean a lot of cutting and pasting for GPs, says Copperfield. But while we're talking about cutting...

So the government is chucking a spanner in the appraisal works by pulling the plug on funding for the appraisal toolkit. A nation's GPs don't weep, exactly, but their lips curl as they wonder how they're going to cut and paste for next year's appraisal.

Add that story to this old one, though, about the government scaling back revalidation, and this new one about the Office of the Health Profession Adjudicator – a proposed new layer of regulatory bureaucracy in the post-Shipman world – being scrapped and you start to reach an inevitable conclusion.

Which is that, hopefully, appraisal and revalidation are on the way out.

Sure, there will be some bleeding hearts who insist that appraisal is a valid, worthwhile process and that revalidation is necessary to weed out the bad guys and gals. But the cardie brigade can do their hand-wringing amongst themselves, if they really have to - leaving the rest of us out of it, and preferably choking on their own fluff.

Of course, the RCGP is likely to ride over the horizon to rescue us with their own version of the toolkit. But that's a cavalry charge I – and I suspect you – really don't want. The death of the NHS toolkit – and that's what it'll be if we have to pay with it – could well be the catalyst for the axe to fall. Because gripes about having to fork out for a process we don't believe in could pretty soon transform into a groundswell of renewed criticism of the whole process. And in the context of the nation's piggy bank being empty, appraisal and revalidation are sitting ducks for big cost savings.

Great: it's a process we never wanted, didn't need and can't afford. A nation's GPs rejoice.

'Sick Notes' by Dr Tony Copperfield is out now, available from Monday Books.

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