Revalidation credit system unveiled

Revalidation RCGP reveals simplified system for GPs to demonstrate effective CPD.

Professor Steve Field
Professor Steve Field

The RCGP has published the system of learning credits that GPs must now start collecting in the run-up to revalidation.

The system has been simplified after GPs in the pilot said the original was 'complex' and 'subjective'.

Professor Mike Pringle, the RCGP revalidation lead, said the new version is 'very workable'.

Under the scheme, an hour of learning will equate to one of the 50 credits a year GPs must collect. To earn a credit, GPs must show what they have learned, how they learned it and how it is relevant to their practise.

The college warns that 'simple certification of time spent is not adequate to claim credit'. Claiming 52 credits a year for reading medical journals for an hour a week would be rejected.

The revised scheme will now be piloted by doctors in the Midlands and Tayside and by army and sessional GPs.

GPs must show a broad balance of learning activities and the RCGP gives upper limits on the number of annual credits GPs can earn from more basic learning.

Going to conferences and meetings can earn GPs up to 20 credits per year, personal unplanned reading up to 10 credits, targeted reading up to 10 credits, unplanned online learning up to 10 credits, and structured online learning up to 10 credits. Completing one of the RCGP's own online Essential Knowledge Challenges would attract 10-15 credits.

Workplace learning is so important that the RCGP gives no upper limit.

GPs who show how learning has changed their practise can double their credits for that activity. 'GPs must show the impact on patients,' said RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field.

The college suggests at least 30 credits a year should come from impact-based learning.

But Dr Richard Fieldhouse, chairman of the National Association of Sessional GPs, warned that locums will only be able to show impact 'with difficulty' because of their short-term contact with patients.

GPs will self-assess the value of their learning and the credits will be verified in their annual appraisal. The RCGP says most GPs already collect many more than 50 credits a year and its pilot found that most underestimated their credit claims.

GPs can roll credits from one year to the next as long as they collect 250 in a five-year cycle.

Professor Field said: 'We are trying to put this back into the hands of the GP as a professional. It's up to them to justify their learning to their appraiser.'

The RCGP plans to issue further guidance this month.

Examples of how to earn credits

  • Attending a meeting on heart failure, learning how certain beta-blockers can help and recording this in appraisal documentation - 1 credit.
  • As above but adding two case studies - 2 credits.
  • Conducting 360 degs survey and improving record-keeping as a result of it - 6 credits.
  • Attending diabetes update, rewriting practice protocol, starting call/recall system, recording improvements in care and planning re-audit - 20 credits.
  • Following six-module distance learning dermatology course leading to certificate, developing management strategy - 24 credits.
  • Completing dermatology diploma, referring 30 per cent fewer patients - 60 credits.


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