More than one in six GPs in London (17%) who were scheduled to undergo revalidation have had to defer the process since the scheme came into effect in December 2012, compared to just 9% of GPs in the north of England region.
GPs practising in the devolved nations are considerably less likely to have to defer the process than those in England. Overall, 12% of GPs in England had to defer, while just 7% of those in Northern Ireland and 9% in Wales have done so since the programme began.
In Scotland just 6% deferred revalidation due to insufficient evidence - around a third of the rate seen in London.
Around 11% of GPs in the south of England and 12% from the Midlands and East have had to defer the process due to lack of evidence.
Nearly 5,000 GPs
The data show that a total of 4,730 GPs in the UK had to defer the process between December 2012 and the end of March 2015. Around 40% of GPs have yet to undergo the revalidation process, according to GP analysis of the most recent GMC data.
GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said concerns had been raised about regional variation in the number of revalidation deferrals and it was important to try and stamp this out.
‘I would hope that GPs are fully aware of what they need to do and have been fully informed on that,’ he said.
‘We need to ensure that there isn’t any regional variation and there are concerns that this is the case. But I think with the right support and the right appraisal process in place then GPs should have the confidence they’ll get through with few problems.’
GMC guidance says that deferring revalidation 'is a neutral act that has no effect on a doctor’s licence to practise, and gives the doctor more time to gather and present evidence' to support their revalidation. Factors such as maternity leave can lead to deferral of the process, and the GMC has been keen to highlight that higher rates of deferral in one area or another may not be negative.