Revalidation at 'implementation stage'

Revalidation is now in its 'implementation phase' and should not be held back by a shortage of funding, the GMC has said.

Mr Dickson: a shortage of funds should not hold back revalidation as it enters implementation stage (Photograph: Chris Renton)
Mr Dickson: a shortage of funds should not hold back revalidation as it enters implementation stage (Photograph: Chris Renton)

A trust in Northern Ireland recently became the first in the UK to appoint a responsible officer (RO), one of the senior doctors who will act as a link between local healthcare organisations and the GMC.

In a joint statement of intent, the GMC and the four UK health departments confirmed revalidation will be implemented from 'late 2012'. GP revealed this month that RCGP revalidation lead Professor Mike Pringle feared this could slip into 2013.

The statement comes as a GMC report on responses to its revalidation consultation revealed concerns. The GMC said most respondents support the overall approach, but it admitted 'more work needs to be done' to ensure revalidation works in practice.

The report revealed concerns around the amount of supporting evidence and level of patient and public involvement required for appraisal.

Less than half of respondents thought the supporting information proposed for specialty frameworks was practicable or proportionate.

Just 48 per cent agreed with GMC plans for patient and public involvement in ROs' recommendations and quality assurance. But two-thirds backed patient involvement through questionnaire feedback and the GMC process for tackling concerns about a doctor's practice.

Respondents also raised concerns about conflict of interest issues around the appointment of ROs, and called for more safeguards to check their powers, the GMC said.

But the GMC concluded that there is 'no overriding message that we need to discard the main features of the proposed model for revalidation'.

The GMC plans to streamline and review revalidation plans to ensure they are feasible, proportionate and cost-effective. It will undertake an analysis of the cost and benefits of the process before it is rolled out.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: 'We recognise that the health service is heading for choppier waters, with less new resource than it has been used to. But that, for us, is not a reason for not going ahead.'

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