The updated guidance from the RCGP aim to clarify revalidation requirements and help slash administrative workload for GPs.
It sets out official recommendations specifically to help GPs ensure they are up-to-date and fit to practise, which are based on broader revalidation requirements set by the GMC.
Since the introduction of revalidation in 2012, it has been recognised that the effort involved should be reasonable and proportionate, the RCGP said.
GP revalidation workload
But many GPs feel that the ‘bureaucratic and burdensome’ scheme is forcing them to spend hours compiling evidence.
The renewed guidance follows a survey of over 1,000 GPs run by the RCGP which revealed that over a third (35%) experience difficulties with revalidation.
Over half (53%) of respondents did not think that the supporting evidence they were required to gather properly reflected the quality of patient care they deliver.
The recommendations emphasise a ‘one CPD credit for one hour of activity’ approach. GPs should write a short reflective note for each lesson learned as a whole, even if it lasts several hours.
If a learning activity simply consolidates what a GP already knows, and they do not learn nothing new, this should be recorded and the time taken should be credited, the guidance says.
GPs are also advised to be selective and take a ‘quality over quantity’ approach, providing reflection on only the ‘top examples’ of their learning instead of attempting to document everything. When they hit the required 50 credits they should stop.
The guidance also confirms that rules allowing GPs to ‘double’ up their CPD points if they could demonstrate the impact of their learning will now be phased out. In its stead, GPs should claim additional credits for every hour spent where additional learning takes place in demonstrating the impacts of a lesson learned.
This will ensure GPs are rewarded for all their work spent on impact and will make the system fairer and more equitable, the RCGP said.
RCGP revalidation lead Dr Susi Caesar said: ‘Revalidation is about ensuring that all doctors, including GPs, are up to date and fit to practise. Appraisal has the best of intentions for improving quality in general practice and the care that GPs can deliver to patients – but it is obvious from the survey results that members were finding the process burdensome at a time when they are already under intense resource and workforce pressures.
‘The college has listened to the feedback from GPs, and we hope the latest version of our guidance will help to increase the dissemination of best practice while reducing the burden of documentation required.
‘The changes that have been made to our guidance on supporting information focus on reducing confusion, reducing bureaucracy, and ultimately reducing workload for GPs when they are under such intense pressure with increasing patient demand.'
GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: ‘Revalidation should be a positive challenge for doctors, not a burden, which is why we welcome this new guidance from the RCGP. This simplifies and clarifies the information which GPs should bring to their appraisals – we hope they find this helpful.
‘The impact of revalidation on doctors is something that we are considering very carefully. We have plenty of evidence that for many doctors it is a positive and useful experience which has helped them to reflect on their practice.'