Deferred GP revalidation more likely in England

GPs in England are nearly three times more likely to have their revalidation date deferred than their counterparts in Scotland, according to new figures released by the GMC.

Niall Dickson: first year of revalidation complete
Niall Dickson: first year of revalidation complete

Fewer than 10 doctors have been threatened with the removal of their licence for 'refusing to engage' in the first year of revalidation, but 10% of GPs across the UK have had their revalidation date deferred.

More than 10,000 GPs across the UK have successfully completed revalidation, but more than 1,000 had their revalidation date deferred, according to GMC data. The figures cover almost the first full year of revalidation, from 1 December 2012 to 26 November 2013.

The GMC has confirmed that of 24,550 doctors revalidated, 10,288 were GPs. A total of 449 were responsible officers (ROs) - the senior doctors that lead the revalidation process in local areas.

Of the 5,077 doctors who have had their revalidation date deferred, 1,171 were GPs.

The deferral rate for GPs in England was 11%, compared with 10% in Wales, 6% in Northern Ireland and 4% in Scotland.

A GMC spokeswoman said that fewer than 10 doctors could lose their licence over revalidation, but was unable give reasons or to say how many were GPs.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: ‘These are very early days but we are pleased with the progress made in the first year. This new system of checks is a world first and over time we believe it will make a significant contribution towards making sure patients in the UK receive safe, effective care.

‘Already we see signs that it is making an impact with hospitals and other healthcare organisations recognising their responsibility, not only to make sure all their doctors have the attitude and skills to deliver high quality care, but also that they have the support and information they need to assess and reflect on their practice.

‘There is more to do but this is about supporting doctors to provide the best possible care and making sure patients can have confidence in the care their doctors provide. We will develop the model, and we will listen and learn from the experience of those who use it as we do so. But this is a good start.’

The GMC said it is on track to check most doctors by the end of March 2016.

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