Most PCTs do not have remediation policies, survey finds

Most PCTs do not have remediation policies in place for when they take on revalidation of GPs, a survey has found.

Niall Dickson: welcomed the report's findings
Niall Dickson: welcomed the report's findings

The ‘Organisational Readiness Self-Assessment Report 2011-12’ by the Revalidation Support Team (RST) surveyed 654 designated bodies on their readiness for revalidation, which is due to start in December.

The report revealed that, as of March 2012, just 45.9% of PCTs had a policy in place for re-skilling, rehabilitation, remediation and targeted support which is compliant with the responsible officer regulations.

The GPC has previously warned that revalidation should not go ahead without proper remediation in place for GPs.

At the LMCs conference in May, delegates voted unanimously in favour of motions calling for revalidation not to go ahead ‘without adequate arrangements for remediation which are no more burdensome for GPs than other doctors, without proper arrangements for all types of GP, which will call doctors for revalidation on a random basis and will not result in an increase in GMC fees'.

Despite many being unprepared for remediation, PCTs faired far better in other areas of ‘readiness’ for revalidation.

The report found that 100% of GPs are linked to a fully trained responsible officer. It will be the role of responsible officers - usually the medical director of a PCT - to make a recommendation to the GMC that each doctor is up to date, fit to practise and should be revalidated.

It also revealed that 98% of GPs are covered by PCTs that have a sufficient number of trained medical appraisers and a process for investigating capability, conduct, health and fitness-to-practise concerns.

Almost all GPs (96%) are now covered by designated bodies with an appraisal policy which is compliant with the requirements of revalidation.

RST medical director Dr Annita Donely said that remediation would be a key are of work for the team in the coming year. She said that although remediation was not something new for PCTs, revalidation ‘has shone a welcome light’ on the variation of PCT offerings across England.

She added that although PCTs already received funding to provide remediation, results of the report showed that ‘some addition resources may be needed’.

NHS Medical Director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh has written to all SHA cluster chief executives and medical directors, summarising the results of the report and highlighting areas that need to be strengthened.

Revalidation is due to start in December this year, subject to approval by the health secretary.

Dr Donley said that an NHS Commissioning Board steering group, established to design the Board’s policy around remediation, was due to hold its first meeting in the middle of September.

Commenting on the report GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: ‘This is good news and reflects a great deal of hard work to prepare for medical revalidation. It shows that organisations in England will be able to support doctors with their revalidation from the end of this year.

‘It is another significant milestone and we expect to see similar reports from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland over the next month which will give patients and all those involved the confidence that revalidation can get underway.

'Over time this system will not only provide greater assurance to patients about the competence of their doctors, it has the potential to enhance patient safety and improve the quality of medical care in the UK – and those are prizes worth striving for.’

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