Speaking exclusively to GP, GMC chairman Professor Peter Rubin and RCGP revalidation lead Professor Mike Pringle said it is now expected that revalidation will be almost entirely rolled out by late 2015 or early 2016.
The revelation comes as an independent evaluation of revalidation pathfinder pilots found that revalidation increases appraisal time for GPs by 50%.
Professor Pringle said the ‘go live button’ for revalidation would be pressed in summer 2012 when the final business case is signed off. But he said revalidation would not start ‘in earnest’ until early 2013.
Professor Rubin said currently the ‘best estimate’ is that revalidation will be rolled out across the UK by the end of 2015.
He said: ‘When you bear in mind this is biggest change in medical regulation since the GMC was established, I think it’s entirely appropriate to say let’s take two or three years over it.’
But GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey raised concerns that revalidation would be rushed through without certainty about the future arrangements for responsible officers.
He said: ‘We have spent so long getting to this point and now we are suddenly rushing it through at a time when responsible officers have little certainty about... where they will sit and over what areas will operate. All these basic things are completely up in the air.’
An independent review of the Revalidation Support Team pathfinder pilots found that GPs took a total of 18 hours to complete the strengthened appraisal process that forms part of revalidation.
The review by the University of Durham and a consultancy firm also showed that the same doctors took 12 hours to complete a standard appraisal.
Revalidation Support Team 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.