GPs fear regional variation in revalidation process

The GMC has confirmed it will not set rules on the number of 'learning credits' GPs should collect for revalidation, sparking concerns that requirements could vary across the UK.

Professor Pringle: ‘I wouldn’t expect there to be substantial local variation as most doctors do far more than 50 and the responsible officers will expect to see that.’

The RCGP has issued a guide for revalidation that says doctors will need to amass 50 learning credits a year over the five-year revalidation period, but this requirement does not appear in GMC guidance. Other royal colleges have issued similar advice.

The concerns add to fears that revalidation will vary across the UK, after the GMC was accused of ‘shirking its responsibility’ to develop a standard system of appraisal by GPC education committee chairman Dr Terry John at the LMCs conference in May.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said it ‘won’t require doctors to achieve a specific number of CPD credits to revalidate but we do encourage doctors to participate in lifelong learning, which is the key to ensuring they keep up to date’.

Londonwide LMCs chief executive Dr Michelle Drage asked on twitter:



GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘I don't believe the GMC are going to be more prescriptive and GPs should bear that in mind as they approach revalidation.’

RCGP revalidation lead Professor Mike Pringle said responsible officers - senior local doctors who will play a key role in revalidation - would make the decision on whether learning credits and other supporting information amassed by doctors were sufficient for revalidation, but he did not expect much local variation.

Professor Pringle, who said revalidation remains on track to begin next April, said: ‘The college and the GMC have different roles. The college is there to outline the sorts of evidence that are needed.

‘The GMC asked the colleges to produce more detailed information and each college has produced identical guidance saying doctors should do 50 credits. Most doctors actually do more than 50.

‘I wouldn’t expect there to be substantial local variation as most doctors do far more than 50 and the responsible officers will expect to see that.’

Professor Pringle, who is due to step down from his revalidation role when he takes over as RCGP president in November said he expects the health secretary Andrew Lansley to ‘activate’ the revalidation legislation in the autumn.

On revalidation, he said: ‘It is looking very positive. At the moment it doesn’t look like there are any major problems.’

The GPC warned last year that revalidation should not go ahead until questions over who would pay for remediation of doctors who failed were resolved.

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