Revalidation drives up appraisal time by 50%

GPs took 18 hours in total to complete the strengthened appraisal process that will form part of revalidation, an independent report has found.

Dr Anita Thomas: ‘This report is helping us identify where we need to focus our resources for the next phase of our work'
Dr Anita Thomas: ‘This report is helping us identify where we need to focus our resources for the next phase of our work'

The same doctors took 12 hours to complete a normal appraisal, according to the evaluation of NHS revalidation support team pathfinder pilots.

The report highlighted 'a number of challenges’ around the length of time taken to complete the process as well as concerns around the revalidation toolkit doctors use to collect evidence for revalidation.

A total of ten pilot sites across England were set up to allow around 3,000 doctors to test the plans for strengthened medical appraisal and the revalidation pilot toolkit across ten pilot sites.

The independent review by the University of Durham and a consultancy firm said doctors in primary care took around 18 hours to complete strengthened appraisal. It said the same doctors took around 12 hours to complete normal appraisal process.

It also found that in the early stages of the pilots problems with the revalidation toolkit were being ‘encountered regularly’.

Doctors said the time taken to upload information was ‘lengthy’ due to the slow operation of the toolkit. They also raised concerns that the toolkit often crashed, and data entered by doctors was lost.

The report suggested that doctors needed to keep ‘better records’ to comply with appraisal systems in the future.

It said doctors found it most difficult to provide supporting information around areas such as ‘showing respect for patients’ , ‘treating patients and colleagues fairly and without discrimination’ and ‘acting with honesty and integrity’.

The report said: ‘Appraisees found it difficult to establish what supporting information was required for some attributes and how much needs to be submitted, and appraisers found it difficult to assess that information.’

But the study also showed that 96% of the organisations involved in the NHS revalidation support team pathfinder pilot expected revalidation to lead to improved quality of care.

A further 82% expect revalidation to lead to improved patient safety, while 80% think revalidation will improve the patient experience.

The support team's medical director Dr Anita Thomas said the report identified a ‘number of challenges’ around the time taken to complete the process and the revalidation pilot toolkit.

She said: ‘This report is helping us identify where we need to focus our resources for the next phase of our work. It is clear that doctors value a common approach to appraisal and one that is both clear and streamlined.'

The government has extended revalidation pilots until 2012. Health secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘These findings will allow us to identify the areas on which we need to focus in the additional year of piloting.’

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