MPs urge GMC to toughen up revalidation

How to deal with underperforming doctors has not been given enough thought in the GMC's current revalidation proposals, MPs have warned.

A report from the House of Commons health select committee this week says evidence heard during its revalidation inquiry suggests the need to detect unfit doctors is seen as an ‘insignificant’ part of the appraisal process.

The committee also called on the GMC to ensure that there were no further delays to the introduction of revalidation.

The report urged the GMC not to overlook the need to identify ‘inadequate’ and ‘potentially dangerous’ doctors and raised concerns that little attention has been given to dealing with doctors whose practice is a ‘cause for concern’.

‘We regard this as an important weakness in the current proposals which the GMC needs to address if revalidation is to help sustain public confidence in the medical profession,’ it said.

It called on the GMC to publish guidance on how responsible officers should deal with such cases.

The committee also raised concerns about the variation in how appraisals are carried out across the country. It said it is ‘unacceptable’ that some doctors are not appraised at all. It warned that unless an adequate appraisal system is in place then revalidation, as it is currently envisaged, will not work.

The committee also said the threat of conflict of interest issues around the responsible officer role is ‘real’. It said the GMC should publish guidance on how such conflicts of interests should be handled.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said introducing revalidation by 2012 remains the GMC’s ‘number one priority’. He said: ‘It is good that MPs are clear that there must now be no delay in its introduction.’

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