The report, ‘Medical Revalidation – Equality Analysis’ found that GPs aged over 60 were seven times more likely to be referred to the National Clinical Assessment Service (NCAS), which deals with performance concerns, than those under 40.
Although revalidation is designed not to discriminate, the DH report also urged the GMC to monitor the experiences of overseas, black and minority ethnic (BME) and disabled GPs, and GPs from different religions to ensure that they are treated fairly.
GPs working in deprived areas may also need any extra pressures they face recognised, so that they can be offered appropriate support, the report said.
One reason for a greater number of older doctors being referred to the NCAS could be that younger doctors are kept under closer supervision, the report said.
Revalidation pathfinder pilots also found that it took longer for older GPs, who qualified before 1971, to be appraised. Older appraisers also took longer to complete an appraisal.
As a result, the DH report called for additional support ‘such as appropriate IT training or administrative assistance’ for older doctors to ensure that they suffered no detriment in their ability to complete their appraisal.
The DH also recognised that doctors with disabilities may require support to gather revalidation information and called on the GMC to consider any ‘reasonable adjustments’ that could make the process easier.
It also called for measures to support doctors who are pregnant or returning from maternity leave.