GP revalidation suspended during COVID-19 outbreak

GPs will not be subject to revalidation during the coronavirus outbreak to ‘free up vital time’ for frontline clinicians, the GMC has announced.

Appraisal could also be paused at the discretion of local clinical governance teams, the regulator has said.

Revalidation dates between 17 March and the end of September will be deferred for a year to help ‘ease the burden’ on doctors during the pandemic, GMC chief executive Charlie Massey confirmed.

The move comes after emergency legislation drafted by the government gave the GMC powers to grant temporary registration to doctors who have retired in the past three years.

GP workforce

GPonline has estimated that as many as 5,000 GPs could be eligible for temporary registration to work during the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Massey said: ‘We’re doing everything in our power to support doctors and employers on the frontline, where patients need them most.

‘To free up vital time, revalidation dates between 17 March and the end of September will be deferred a year. We hope this will help ease the burden on doctors already working so hard to deliver the best possible care’.

Revalidation

Registered doctors with a license to practise are subject to revalidation every five years, with the annual appraisal process feeding into this.

Under the current appraisal and revalidation process, GPs are expected to achieve 50 continuing professional development (CPD) credits per year - defined by the RCGP as equivalent to fifty hours of learning activity - but a GPonline poll last year found almost two thirds of GPs spend longer than this in preparation for appraisal.

The process could be set for reform as part of a wide-ranging review promised earlier this year to reduce bureaucracy facing GP practices

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