Revalidation has failed to improve patient safety, GPs warn

Two in five GPs do not believe revalidation has made general practice safer for patients, a GPonline survey reveals - with some dismissing it as a 'box-ticking' exercise that fails to 'weed out dangerous doctors'.

GP appraisal (Photo: iStock.com/sturti)
GP appraisal (Photo: iStock.com/sturti)

A total of 30% of the 570 GPs who took part in the survey disagreed with the statement that ‘GP revalidation improves patient safety’, while a further 10% ‘strongly’ disagreed. The findings were similar for GP appraisal, which 37% of GPs said does not improve patient safety.

Overall, fewer than one in three GPs felt that GP revalidation (29%) and appraisal (25%) had improved patient safety, while 34% were ‘neutral’ on the subject.

Less than half of GPs (48%) said that appraisal was ‘worthwhile’, and just 37% said revalidation was worthwhile.

'Jumping through hoops'

One GP taking part in the GPonline poll described revalidation and appraisal as ‘jumping through hoops with no real value’, adding ‘It won't pick up dangerous doctors because they just learn how to play the game’.

Another GP said: ‘I'm sure there are better ways of ensuring doctors work safely and remain up to date.’ A third commented: ‘Appraisal takes up a lot of valuable time in an already busy job, it is like a tick-box exercise and an excellent GP may focus more on clinical work and not look great when it gets to the appraisal and a GP that had poor clinical skills may be very good at looking good on paper and ticking the boxes for the appraisal.’

Others argued that appraisal and revalidation was a ‘much needed process’, but that it should be used ‘for the benefit of the doctor to aid their development’.

One respondent wrote: ‘In principle I think it a good idea, we should encourage reflection, lifelong learning and willingness to review and change when things have not gone well. It should help the public to have confidence in their clinicians. In practice I'm not sure how much it helps identify weaker practitioners.’

Appraisal and revalidation

GMC director of registration and revalidation Una Lane said: ‘We believe that appraisal and revalidation can help to foster a culture of reflection and support doctors in developing their skills so that they can provide even better care to their patients.

‘Last year we published new guidance to make our requirements clearer and to make sure that any supporting information submitted for an appraisal is focused on quality rather than quantity. We continue to work closely with stakeholders, including employers and the medical royal colleges, to reduce any unnecessary burden and deliver further improvements.’

A motion listed for debate at this year’s UK LMCs conference, which takes place in Belfast on the 19 and 20 of March, will call on the GPC to work with the GMC and other NHS bodies to ‘overhaul’ revalidation and appraisal.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

GP at Hand should only be allowed to provide NHS 111 services, says BMA

GP at Hand should only be allowed to provide NHS 111 services, says BMA

Babylon GP at Hand should no longer be allowed to register patients and instead be...

A financial guide for GP locums

A financial guide for GP locums

Medical accountant Jenny Stone provides a guide to pensions, setting your fees and...

Paying tax as a GP locum

Paying tax as a GP locum

Medical accountant Jenny Stone explains how you pay your tax as a GP locum.

DNA testing could be part of NHS health checks under government plans

DNA testing could be part of NHS health checks under government plans

The DHSC has launched a review of NHS health checks, with a view to introducing a...

Most GPs now see locum work as most attractive career option, poll reveals

Most GPs now see locum work as most attractive career option, poll reveals

More than half of GPs now believe locum work is the most attractive career option...

Patients in deprived areas find it harder to get GP appointments

Patients in deprived areas find it harder to get GP appointments

Three out of five people living in the most deprived areas in England find it difficult...