Exclusive: Credit crunch may put GP revalidation at risk

Senior health service figures have suggested the credit crunch may put the implementation of revalidation at risk.

Dr Lawton: financial crisis could not have come at a worse time for revalidation
Dr Lawton: financial crisis could not have come at a worse time for revalidation

Advisers from both the DoH and the GMC revealed the level of uncertainty that remains about the system at the NHS Employers conference in Birmingham last week.

Dr Nick Clarke, DoH head of health and social care regulation, said that ministers were waiting for evidence from revalidation pilots that the system ‘works and is affordable for the treasury and doctors'.

He added: ‘There are many, many costings that will have to be done. We need to learn from the pilots that this is affordable and not overly bureaucratic.'

Paul Buckley, GMC director of education and revalidation, said: ‘We are very conscious in light of tighter finances of doing this in a way without unnecessary burden on the NHS and the profession.'

RCGP Scotland chairman Dr Ken Lawton told GP that the global financial crisis ‘could not have come at a worse time for revalidation'.

‘We're working in fiscally constrained times, and revalidation has come along. There is still a lot of debate about how much it will cost and who will pay.'

He said the future of revalidation was ‘a dynamic situation, especially with the political uncertainty down south'.

Dr Lawton said the RCGP shared anxiety about the costs of revalidation, but warned that a ‘watered down' system may not be fit for purpose.

He said that some of the most costly elements may be the administration of multi-source feedback and remediation of sub-standard doctors.

‘We have to look at the tools we already have and how to give people access with minimal cost,' he said.

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said a watered down revalidation system was preferable to an ‘all-singing, all-dancing' but underfunded one.

He added: ‘There is serious concern that some of the proposals are far too elaborate given the level of funding available.'

He said the cost of multi-source feedback and administering data from appraisal and clinical governance may be too high.

  • Read the full version of this story in this week's edition of GP dated 13 November.

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