Revalidation clarified for 'special GPs'

The RCGP has updated its guidance to clarify what 'GPs in special groups' - those without a fixed, standard workplace and those in career transition - must do to revalidate.

Professor Field: urges GPs to start collecting evidence for revalidation (Photograph: Jason Heath Lancy)
Professor Field: urges GPs to start collecting evidence for revalidation (Photograph: Jason Heath Lancy)

In a significant softening of language, version four of the document rebadges RCGP assessors as 'advisers' and its national adjudication panel as a 'national advisory panel'.

'Equivalent portfolios' come in for 'doctors in special groups', such as peripatetic locums, out-of-hours doctors, and GPs working in walk-in centres, remote or small practices, or secure environments.

They offer a solution for GPs whose revalidation falls in a career break and trainees, but not part-time GPs who work in a fixed environment or even long-term locums.

GPs in more isolated roles must take responsibility for demonstrating their competence. 'All GPs need to consider how they achieve peer support to prevent professional isolation,' the college says.

But practices, federations and employers also have a duty to involve locums, out-of-hours or walk-in centre doctors in complaints and significant events. These doctors should have access to patient records for audit and quality improvements.

'The responsibilities of those who engage locums to support access for quality assurance must be made clear and included in terms and conditions of employment,' it says.

A 'special group' GP could ask colleagues in a locum group, professional organisation, chambers or even virtual education group for input into multi-source feedback.

Other options include sending surveys to practices they have worked at, or being observed by an appraiser or trainer.

Trainees will normally first revalidate five years after passing their MRCGP. But trainees who take longer to start work will need to use information from their trainee portfolio plus supporting statements from educational and clinical supervisors. During training, the postgraduate dean will be their responsible officer.

Educational activities for all GPs have also been clarified: they can include formal courses, lectures, seminars, small-group or practice-based learning events and other activities.

RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field said: 'Revalidation is still well on course. We would urge all GPs to start collecting evidence now.'

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