Exclusive: Revalidation has failed to make general practice safer, GPs say

Four in five GPs (77%) believe that the introduction of revalidation has not made the profession any safer, a GPonline poll suggests, with many warning it could allow dangerous doctors to 'easily slip through' the net.

Respondents to the GPonline survey of 700 GPs criticised revalidation as ‘another layer of useless medical management’, warning the scheme ‘does not root out bad doctors’.

Four out of five (77%) GPs said that the profession had not become any safer since the introduction of revalidation in December 2012.

Most (86%) UK GPs have now undergone the process for the first time, and all GPs who were on the GMC register in 2012 are projected to have been revalidated by April 2016.

Official GMC figures as of December 2015, seen by GPonline, show that there is little variance across the country, with between 83% and 93% of GPs in each NHS England sub region having been revalidated to date.

But many GPs remain unconvinced about the benefits of revalidation.

‘It’s like an exam,’ one GP said. ‘Just because you prepare and perform well on the day, it doesn’t mean your day-to-day practice is any safer.’

In particular, a number of respondents said they believed that serial killer GP Dr Harold Shipman would have had ‘no trouble satisfying appraisal and revalidation criteria'.

Shipman was found guilty in 2000 of murdering 15 of his patients, and was later identified as the killer of 218 patients throughout his career. His total victims are thought to number over 250.

GP revalidation

Just 10% of GP respondents said they believed revalidation had driven up the safety of the profession over the three years it has been in place.

One of these said that revalidation was important to ensure doctors maintained up-to-date knowledge in the ‘ever-changing field’ of medicine.

But another said that although they thought safety had improved as a result of revalidation, the methods were like using a ‘sledgehammer to break a nut’.

Some 13% indicated they were not sure whether the introduction of revalidation had made the GP profession safer.

Fit to practise

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC, said: ‘Revalidation brings all doctors into a clinically governed system where problems can be identified earlier and the quality of care can be improved over time as they are able to gather evidence about their practise and reflect on that evidence.

‘Revalidation is not and has never been about preventing a mass murderer such as Harold Shipman.

'The system, based on annual appraisals, has been designed to make sure doctors treating patients are up to date, competent and fit to practise – more than 93% of GPs are now having annual appraisals – nearly 15% up since revalidation was introduced in 2012.

‘These are early days but the feedback that we have received from doctors and from responsible officers suggests that revalidation is starting to have a positive impact.

'Of course it is not perfect – this is a new and ambitious system – which is why we are reviewing how it is working in practice. We will work with the profession to adjust and develop the process as we take it forward.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

First COVID-19 jabs to target care home residents and staff under new JCVI advice

First COVID-19 jabs to target care home residents and staff under new JCVI advice

Older adults living in care homes and staff working there will be first to receive...

GPs unable to veto virtual fitness to practise hearings during pandemic

GPs unable to veto virtual fitness to practise hearings during pandemic

GPs facing fitness to practise investigations during the COVID-19 pandemic will be...

Government rejects major NHSPS overhaul - but changes 'could ease GP service charge disputes'

Government rejects major NHSPS overhaul - but changes 'could ease GP service charge disputes'

A government review has rejected calls for a major overhaul of an NHS Property Services...

RCGP urges GPs to collaborate with pharmacies on flu jabs this year

RCGP urges GPs to collaborate with pharmacies on flu jabs this year

The RCGP and the Royal Pharmaceutical Society have called on GP practices and community...

GP appointments rising fast as COVID-19 cases 'near 10,000 a day'

GP appointments rising fast as COVID-19 cases 'near 10,000 a day'

GP appointments have risen rapidly in recent weeks as schools returned, according...

COVID-19 impact on medical schools risks 'serious damage' to future NHS workforce

COVID-19 impact on medical schools risks 'serious damage' to future NHS workforce

Medical training and the future NHS workforce could be seriously damaged by the financial...