Revalidation 'too focused on individual doctors'

Doctors' leaders have hit out at revalidation, calling for a shift in focus from individual clinicians to strengthened clinical governance systems.

Dr Meldrew: pro-revalidation (Photograph: Malcolm Case-Green)
Dr Meldrew: pro-revalidation (Photograph: Malcolm Case-Green)

Speaking at the BMA's annual representative meeting in Brighton last week, Dr Keith Brent, deputy chairman of the Central Consultants and Specialists Committee (CCSC), said plans for revalidation were becoming 'incredibly complex and cumbersome'.

Doctors are 'not above scrutiny' but consideration should be given to an alternative model for regulation, he told the conference.

Dr Brent said: 'It was always intrinsic in the idea of developing revalidation for individual doctors that clinical governance systems to risk manage, detect problems early on ... would be developed. In fact, this has never happened.'

Dr Brent said clinical governance systems in the NHS should be boosted, so problems can be identified as they start to arise.

He said: '(We need) a system that puts funding, brains, time and energy into trying to get clinical governance right.

'Let's get the system checks right first, before we get every single doctor in the country to prove they are not a murderer or a rapist.'

Dr Hugh Robertson-Ritchie, a member of BMA's south east Kent division, dismissed revalidation as 'a solution without a problem'.

But BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said revalidation relied on a combination of clinical governance within organisations and individual responsibility. 'We should focus on both, not just one or the other,' he said.

'How that focus is applied is what we are fighting to make sure is reasonable.'

A motion calling for the BMA to 'actively oppose' current plans for revalidation and campaign for a focus on effective systems of clinical governance, not individual doctors, was carried as reference.

Delegates backed a motion supporting revalidation in principle as long as it was 'practicable, workable, enforceable and not at the expense of patient care'.

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