Exclusive: 'Mini knowledge tests' for GPs piloted by RCGP

The RCGP has backed away from a knowledge test for GPs undergoing revalidation.

Instead, it is developing ‘mini knowledge tests' to be undertaken ‘in the comfort' of a GP's own home after completing a key clinical module.

The mini outcomes will go into the GP's single portfolio for appraisal, relicensing and recertification. 

‘The college has no ongoing work on a knowledge assessment,' RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field said.

The RCGP will launch its first pilot modules in June. 

Principles of GP Appraisal, hammered out at the college, stipulate that all GPs will be expected to undertake a minimum of an hour a week - on average 50 hours a year - of continuing professional development, leading to 50 CPD credits a year.

The DoH's 2007 White Paper on medical regulation Trust, Assurance and Safety charged the college with the task of making ‘cosy chat' GP appraisals fit for relicensing by the GMC and recertification by the RCGP by including performance management as well as ‘formative' elements. 

Appraisal, which will be central to revalidation, will need to include ‘judgments,' said Professor Field.

But assessments will be made against measurable standards of evidence, mapped against Good Medical Practice, and appraisals will use standardised templates. 

While the talk between appraiser and appraisee will remain private, an agreed summary will be submitted to the primary care organisation.

Some PCTs have jumped the gun by introducing performance management into appraisals.

North of Tyne PCTs (Newcastle PCT, North Tyneside PCT and Northumberland Care Trust) already call for 360° feedback, audit, an analysis of complaints and a health declaration. 

But Professor Field was sharply critical of PCTs in England where appraisal has collapsed.

‘England needs to pull its socks up,' he added.

prisca.middlemiss@haymarket.com

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