Exclusive: More than half of GPs revalidated but GMC faces 2015/16 challenge

More than half of GPs have now undergone revalidation but around 23,600 will need to undergo the process this financial year - 2,900 more than completed it in 2014/15, GPonline can reveal.

GMC: half of GPs must complete revalidation in 2015/16 (Photo: JH Lancy)
GMC: half of GPs must complete revalidation in 2015/16 (Photo: JH Lancy)

GMC operational reports reveal that 61% of the 61,156 GPs on its register when revalidation began in 2012 have successfully gone through the process. The GMC's target was for 60% of doctors to have undergone revalidation by April 2015.

GMC revalidation figures for the full 2014/15 financial year – ‘Year 2’ of its revalidation programme – show that 34% of GPs on the 2012 register were successfully revalidated from April 2014 to the end of March 2015.

But 39% of GPs registered with the GMC in 2012 have yet to undergo revalidation, meaning the regulator will have to step up the pace in 2015/16, revalidating nearly 3,000 more GPs than the 20,700 it managed in 2014/15.

GP revalidation target

The regulator set out to revalidate 20% of doctors on its 2012 register in Year 1 (2013/14) followed by 40% in Year 2 (2014/15) and the remaining 40% in Year 3 (2015/16), in what will be the first cycle of the programme.

The GMC overachieved its Year 1 target, meaning it is still over the 60% it was scheduled to achieve overall at this point in time.

The updated data also show that there were over 2,000 GPs in 2014/15 who were scheduled to undergo revalidation but deferred the process due to ‘insufficient evidence’.

GPs were, however, marginally less likely to have their revalidation deferred than doctors on the specialist register. Around 11% of GPs had to defer the process due to insufficient evidence last year, compared with 14% of doctors on the specialist register.

This represents a reversal from six months ago, when GPs were proportionally more likely to have the process deferred, which leading GPs branded ‘worrying’.

Future concerns

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC deputy chairman, said: ‘I think the anxieties that many people had about revalidation have lessened to some extent as people have gotten used to the process and the annual appraisal process was already well-established for general practice.

‘The worry will be if the difficult decisions are put off to the very end of the revalidation cycle, but I hope that’s not the case and I hope local responsible officers (ROs) are working with individuals to ensure that they are all successfully revalidated and any issues are picked up before we get to that final deadline.’

All GPs registered with the GMC up to December 2012 are scheduled to undergo revalidation within three years. GPs added to the register after this date will be revalidated around five years from their registration date.

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