RCGP softens impact of revalidation in revised guide

The RCGP has softened the impact of its controversial learning credits and patient surveys in the first revision of its revalidation guide.

Professor Steve Field
Professor Steve Field

Revalidation version 2 suggests ways to make it easier for locums and sessional doctors to meet the demands of revalidation.

The guide also says that GPs recommended to fail revalidation can appeal.

Version 2 says that GPs can earn credits by counting hours spent learning, planning and reflecting. They can double their credits by showing how the impact of their learning has improved their practice.

GPs only need do one patient survey in five years as long as it is ‘highly satisfactory.' In place of a second survey they can submit a review of their consulting skills.

Revalidation version 2 takes into account more than 200 comments on version 1.

Professor Steve Field, RCGP council chairman, said: ‘We've had many meetings with locum and salaried doctors groups.

‘Unless you're open and brave you won't move forward. We want people to come up with suggestions and solutions.'

In an important concession to non-mainstream GPs, it says ‘there will need to be flexibility concerning the evidence required that takes the GP's circumstances into account'.

Vicky Weeks, chairman of the GPC's sessional GPs subcommittee, said she expected the guidance to change further after a pilot of revalidation specific to locums is completed.

‘The actual guidance is a living document -as information arrives, the situation changes.

‘It's not a question of making easier for locums, it's about making sure there are no artificial barriers for any GP - such as colleague surveys for a single-hander on the Isle of Skye.' 

The College insists that amassing learning credits will not be a burden. ‘Almost all GPs undertake far more than 50 hours of education per year and this standard should be routinely achieved,' the guide says.

The College continues to call 2010/11 the ‘first year of revalidation' but accepts that it will only be working with volunteer GPs in revalidation-ready primary care organisations from April 2010.

The RCGP admits that peripatetic locums, doctors working in unsupportive practices and GPs in small and remote practices will find it difficult to collect the evidence needed for revalidation.

Locums who rarely work in the same practice can collect evidence from post-session questionnaires rather than using colleague surveys. The College is looking for similar equivalents.

Sessional doctors may need to set up peer groups to reflect on significant events and run clinical audits.

The RCGP is collaborating on a new website to show examples of audits suitable for sessional doctors.

Knowledge tests will only be used as a ‘last resort' ‘in rare circumstances.'

prisca.middlemiss@haymarket.com

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