Exclusive: RCGP warns against 'collecting certificates' for revalidation

The RCGP's latest guides to revalidation and CPD have clarified the requirements for GPs and warned that the quality of activity is just as important as the time spent.

Professor Field: encouraging feedback on revalidation plans
Professor Field: encouraging feedback on revalidation plans

In the third version of its guide to revalidation, the college has implemented its plan to simplify the new CPD learning credits system, as reported by Healthcare Republic last year.

The college says that ‘in essence one hour of education is one learning credit'. But GPs will be able to claim two learning credits for each hour of education if they can show how their learning has benefited patients, their practice or themselves.

Credits will be self-assessed by GPs and verified at their annual appraisal, so they need to ensure that they do not over-estimate the value of their learning.

The college's revised guide to the new CPD system, also published this week, warns: ‘Credits are self-assessed and, although a certificate of completion or attendance may be used as evidence of activity, it is the demonstration of learning achieved and relevance to the work that the GP undertakes that definesthe credit. In short, the RCGP does not advocate the collection of certificates. Rather, a collection of self-assessed acquired knowledge relevant to the individual's working situation is required.'

The college suggests that the indicated time on certificates often has 'little or no bearing on actual time spent', and encourages GPs to instead claim the actual time: 'Many online and distance learning packs have a number of hours attached. However, in order to claim credits a demonstration of learning achieved and relevance to general practice must be stated.'

Over the five-year revalidation cycle, GPs will be expected to gain learning credits in a variety of areas at a minimum rate of 50 per year.

Completing one of the RCGP's Essential Knowledge Updates and its linked challenge would earn 10 to 15 credits, doubling if an impact on practice is demonstrated.

Attending a day's meeting on a specialist area could earn six credits.

Credit claims are also possible for practice development. Taking over and updating the accounting system from a retiring partner could earn 10 credits.

It also outlines that instead of doing two clinical audits in the five-year revalidation cycle, the college is looking to allow GPs to submit one audit and a quality improvement project.

Professor Steve Field, chairman of the RCGP, said: 'We are actively listening to what GPs are telling us in their emails and when we meet with them. We have simplified our proposal relating to learning credits for this reason.'

He added: 'I encourage GPs to keep up to date with the college's proposals on revalidation by reading through this guide and to provide feedback, which is invaluable.'

Read the latest RCGP revalidation guide and revised guide to CPD.


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