Pilot GP criticises revalidation 'credits' system

Revalidation - RCGP says pilot schemes will help to identify and resolve concerns about the scoring process.

The credit-gathering system designed by the RCGP as part of plans for revalidation may be unfair, a GP involved in piloting it has warned.

Under the plans, GPs have to earn at least 50 credits each year by gathering evidence of continuing professional development (CPD).

RCGP guidance stresses this is the minimum GPs should be looking to achieve.

But Kent GP Dr Julian Spinks, who is piloting the system, said uncertainty over how credits are valued meant doctors may have to aim far higher than 50 points to be sure of passing.

'It is not certain that your appraiser will rate it in the same way as you.

'So you might think you have achieved 55 points, but the appraiser says it is not worth that much and you have actually fallen short,' he said.

He added: 'Is it consistent enough to be fair? Two doctors who are appraisers will have different standards.'

Dr Spinks worked out retrospectively whether previous appraisals would have satisfied revalidation requirements.

'I did an average amount of CPD yet I only just scraped 50 points,' he said.

Sessional GPs may struggle, he added, because many points are linked to practice lists.

If a GP has a high number of asthma patients and completes CPD in the condition more points are earned because it can be applied swiftly to practice.

While Dr Spinks backed moving away from awarding points for 'falling asleep in the back of a lecture hall', he said: 'The theory is fantastic but I am increasingly concerned about whether it will be usable in practice.'

However, RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field told GP: 'These sorts of issues are why we are piloting the system.'

Professor Field said that the system would fail if people didn't understand it, or it was unclear.

He said the RCGP would draw up more practical examples showing both GPs and appraisers how CPD translated into credits.

Although most GPs actively improve their skills, Professor Field said: 'There are significant numbers of GPs who are not actively learning and acquiring new knowledge and skills - we need to encourage them to.'

He said it was vital for GPs to get the system right to avoid a less favourable alternative being imposed.

nick.bostock@haymarket.com

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