Call to alter responsible officer plans

LMCs Conference 2010: Responsible officers - senior doctors who play a key role in revalidation - should be practising GPs who are not accountable in any other role to a primary care organisation (PCO), LMCs believe.

Dr Coales: prompted a show of hands against revalidation
Dr Coales: prompted a show of hands against revalidation

LMCs also backed a call for GPs to have a choice of at least two responsible officers at their conference in London last week.

The call could force a radical overhaul of PCO plans, as most are reported to be planning to hand the role to their medical directors (GP, 4 September).

The vote came after a show of hands at the conference revealed a widespread lack of support for revalidation.

Dr John Grenville, Derbyshire LMC secretary, said it was vital that responsible officers dealing with GPs were GPs themselves.

He said: 'The responsible officer will from time to time have to make real decisions that will affect real people's futures. We need that to be someone who understands what we do. We also need someone who can approach it without preconceptions. If that person is already looking at us from another performance capacity they may not have that open mind.'

Dr Terry John, GPC lead on revalidation, raised concerns over the feasibility of finding responsible officers who did not hold other PCO roles. 'We know there hasn't been a rush of people coming forward to be responsible officers.'

Meanwhile, Dr Una Coales, a south London GP and RCGP council member, used the conference's 'soapbox' session to conduct a straw poll on support for revalidation.

A show of hands revealed the vast majority of LMC representatives at the conference did not want revalidation to go ahead.

But Dr Dean Marshall, GPC Scotland chairman, said the poll should not be seen 'as our view' of revalidation. 'A show of hands is not the way we develop policy at this conference,' he said.

'It would appear from the show of hands that the vast majority of us are against revalidation. I don't think we are.'

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