BMA revalidation doubts remain as roll-out begins

Revalidation has started today, more than a decade after it was first proposed, but the BMA has said that there is still work to do to ensure that it is workable.

Dr Mark Porter: 'There is still some work to do to ensure it is workable.'

The roll-out of revalidation began today after it received the official backing of the BMA in September, following the NHS Commissioning Board’s promise to fund remediation for doctors who need it.

GP leaders and appraisers who are taking part in the first wave of revalidation, which runs until March 2013, will also undergo the first revalidation appraisals.

On top of information required for an annual appraisal, GPs will need to provide one multisource feedback survey completed by patients and one completed by colleagues for their revalidation appraisal.

All GPs should have received their revalidation date by the end of January 2013.

But BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter said there is still some work to do to ensure revalidation is workable: ‘The BMA will be monitoring its implementation to ensure the process is fair and consistent across the UK, and to make sure those doctors who need support receive it as soon as possible.

‘While revalidation will strengthen current assessments, it is important to remember that doctors are already providing a very high quality service.

‘Although the system is a considerable improvement on the plans that were first proposed, there is still some work to do to ensure it is workable.'

The GMC first discussed revalidation in 1999 following the Bristol heart inquiry which found that children had died because they received substandard heart surgery.

But criticism for the initial proposals in 2004, from the Shipman inquiry, saw it put on hold. In 2010, the GMC consulted on a revised model and piloted it.

Director of NHS Employers Dean Royles said today marked an important milestone for doctors and employers.

‘Revalidation is now set to play a significant part in ensuring safe and modern diagnosis, treatment and care for patients,' he said.

‘Today is important but the job isn't done yet. It will require resources and a focus on revalidation as an ongoing commitment to get doctors and, in time, other staff fully engaged in the process.

‘It is important that revalidation has a strong start and is seen as positive contribution to patient care. I am delighted that the country’s most senior doctors are going to be the first to complete their revalidation and demonstrate that they have kept themselves up to date and fit to practice. That demonstrates exactly the sort of leadership we need.

‘The NHS Employers organisation will continue to support employers and work closely with doctors' and patients' groups to ensure we get this right.’

Chief executive of the NHS Confederation, Mike Farrar said: ‘Revalidation has the potential to be one of the most important developments in the history of the NHS. Now the challenge for boards is to engage with revalidation and use its potential to deliver continual improvements in services, medical practice and quality care.’

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