GPs face a year of turmoil in 2012

Revalidation and registration with the Care Quality Commission (CQC) are both due to start this year, but many GPs say they are simply not ready, a GP poll reveals.

Pressure: GPs are facing a raft of changes in 2012/13 (Photograph: SPL)
Pressure: GPs are facing a raft of changes in 2012/13 (Photograph: SPL)

The profession is not optimistic about clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) taking over from PCTs in April 2013 either - less than a fifth believe the groups will be ready on time.

GP leaders have raised the prospect of boycotting all of the above in recent months. A total of 54% of more than 700 respondents to the poll say they are prepared to boycott CQC registration, 40% say they would boycott the requirement to join a CCG and 36% would boycott revalidation.

Some GPs fear boycotting any of the three could damage their careers. But many are ready to take action. One GP said: 'Doing all of these would be a reasonable and prominent response.'

Another says: 'I have no wish to do anything to directly affect patients but am very angry over how we have been treated and am prepared to take action.'

Revalidation concerns
The GMC has promised revalidation will begin towards the end of 2012 but only 42% of respondents say they are ready.

A host of concerns about the process remain. Funding for remediation, how the process will work for peripatetic doctors, plans to gather feedback and pressure to undergo enhanced appraisal have caused concern.

But the significance of revalidation means many GPs fear the impact of a boycott. One GP says bluntly: 'Boycott revalidation and you get sacked.'

All English GP practices have to be registered with the CQC by 1 April 2013 but only 24% of those polled say they are ready.

Again, key questions remain unanswered. Registration fees will not be set until a 28-day consultation begins this autumn. One worried GP says: 'We have still not been told what will be required. Much of what I have seen already supposedly "preparing" us for CQC registration is incomprehensible management stuff.'

A CQC spokesman says it is ready to register practices, and that more than 2,000 GPs and practice managers have attended roadshows on the plans.

Although revalidation and registration are huge concerns, the biggest anxiety for GPs in England may be the prospect of taking on commissioning. Only 17% think CCGs will be ready by the 1 April 2013 deadline.

One GP says: 'Some are better prepared and supported than others but commissioning is a vast and complex area. I have concerns about the visibility of the "big picture" for CCGs.'


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