GMC defers revalidation for a further 9,000 doctors due to pandemic

Around 9,000 doctors who are due to revalidate between March and July 2021 will have their revalidation dates pushed back by four months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the GMC has said.

The move follows a GMC decision earlier this year to defer revalidation for more than 50,000 doctors who were due to revalidate between 17 March 2020 and 16 March 2021 for up to a year.

The GMC said that under its latest plans the 9,000 doctors affected will be able to revalidate at any time between now and their new date, which will be between August and November next year. This is the same approach that the regulator took with those doctors affected by the first deferment earlier in the pandemic.

The regulator said that of the initial 50,000-plus doctors affected by the changes, more than 12,000 have already successfully revalidated 'and the number continues to increase'.

Exceptional situation

GMC director of registration and revalidation Una Lane said: ‘This is an exceptional situation and we are determined to be as flexible as we can in our response. We have listened to understandable concerns from doctors and responsible officers about escalating rates of the COVID-19 infection. We are very aware of the ongoing pressures that the profession and providers are facing.

‘We had a positive response when we moved revalidation dates for an initial group of doctors earlier this year. It seems right and sensible to proceed in a similar way for a further group doctors who may well be under significant pressure in the coming months.’

The regulator has said it will contact all doctors who are affected by the changes to confirm their revised revalidation date.

The GMC has previously said that if a doctor has missed an appraisal as a result of their pandemic it should not affect their ability to revalidate.

Appriasal changes

Appraisals, which were suspended during the first part of the pandemic, began again this month in a stripped back format with a view to full appraisals beginning again from April 2021. The changes that have been made in light of the COVID-19 pandemic include a greater focus on wellbeing and reduced bureaucracy.

In the summer the RCGP  called for a permanent overhaul of appraisal to reduce the administrative burden on GPs. Following the publication of the college's report  'General practice in a post-COVID world', RCGP chair Professor Martin Marshall said: 'The fact is that throughout the pandemic, general practice has functioned well with less regulation. GPs and our teams have demonstrated that we can be trusted to deliver high-quality, safe patient care without having to tick as many boxes to prove it.' 

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