Exclusive: Revalidation spurs fifth of GPs to consider career change

More than half of GPs are not ready for revalidation and a fifth are considering a career change because of it.

Professor Mike Pringle
Professor Mike Pringle

Research by Doctors.net.uk, the UK’s largest and most active online forum for medics, found that 16% of doctors were considering a career change as a direct result of revalidation.

This figure rises to more than 20% among GPs. Also over half of these are considering leaving medicine altogether.

Dr Tim Ringrose, managing director of medical communities at Doctors.net.uk, said: ‘Doctors recognise the importance of demonstrating to patients and the public at large that they are fit to practise and up to date, but they want to ensure that revalidation does not become a ‘tick-box’ exercise or a process that takes time away from patient care.

‘This large and representative survey of the 50,000 doctors using Doctors.net.uk each week shows that the vast majority (95%) have received some information about the plans for revalidation. However, most feel that they only have a limited knowledge of the process and they are looking to the GMC, the DoH and medical organisations to provide more detail. 

GPs have most concern about the process and one in five GPs are considering a change in their career as a direct result of these plans.’

The survey found that only 15% of doctors felt ‘mostly or totally’ ready for revalidation. Also 5% say they have received no information on it at all.

Professor Mike Pringle, revalidation lead at the RCGP, said that the college had been ‘trying very hard’ to provide information on the process. The College’s guide to revalidation, published on its website, ‘will be an evolving document, and will be updated as time goes by. But we felt it was very important to provide information at a reasonably early point.’

Revalidation will begin in earnest in 2011, after the first portfolios have been examined in the autumn of next year.

But a majority of doctors (56%, including 52% of GPs) said they are not ready.

Under a third (29%) of doctors think revalidation will be good for patients. Only a quarter think it will help them keep up their practice up to date. 

Nearly 1,100 doctors answered the Doctors.net.uk survey. Half were GPs.

jonn.elledge@haymarket.com

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