Professor Malcolm Lewis, a Swansea GP and chairman of the GMC’s continued practice board spoke at the LMC conference in Liverpool on Tuesday as a last-minute replacement for GMC chairman Niall Dickson, who was forced to pull out after an accident.
Professor Lewis addressed a series of motions on revalidation listed for discussion at the conference. On concerns about the failure to agree funding for remediation and concerns about GPs being forced to undergo enhanced appraisals, he said: ‘Don’t let it stop revalidation otherwise it would risk never happening. We have got to get the ball rolling.’
He said enhanced appraisals were not a ‘GMC issue’. He said: ‘I have personally never used the phrase. For me, it is just appraisal for revalidation. This is the GMC’s role.'
However, speaking after the presentation by Professor Lewis, GPC education lead Dr Terry John warned that the GMC had let GPs down by leaving local organisations to define what appraisal should look like. He said a 'madcap variety' of options were springing up.
He warned that the GMC should set out exactly what was required for revalidation and that local organisations should be required to limit appraisal to this.
Professor Lewis said revalidation was 'not about identifying doctors that need action, it is about identifying doctors that are fit to practise'.
He said there would be a ‘small percentage of people’ who would need to carry out more work before they were revalidated and these would he held in a ‘deferment category once they are complete’.
Professor Lewis also told GPs that requests to defer revalidation if they were on maternity leave or abroad were likely to be granted.
On the issues of sessional GPs getting enough feedback to complete revalidation, he said: ‘They are on the performers list so there is a link there. The sessional GPs that I speak to don’t seem to have a problem with this.’
Results of the latest pilots using the GMC’s recommendations are due to be published ‘shortly’, Professor Lewis revealed.