A call to suspend revalidation was lost by just tens of votes despite impassioned pleas from GPs who hit out at the lack of evidence to support the process.
Kent GP Dr Stephanie De Giorgio told the conference: 'I’ve spent hours trawling through the evidence for revalidation. There is none. We are asked to take something that has no evidence base to keep patients safe.
'Just because we have something, and the public have been conned into thinking it's safe - Harold Shipman would have sailed through revalidation - it doesn’t wash.'
Dr Anu Rao said that when she returned home late after work and her daughter asked why she had a headache, she said: 'Because I'm preparing for appraisal.'
'We are regulated and we are regulated a lot,' Dr Rao told GPs. 'Over-regulation equals demoralised and very busy GPs are on their knees already. I am really fed up. Remember the song - I want to break free.'
Several speakers warned that if revalidation was suspended or dropped, it could be replaced with a 'worse' system.
Dr Fiona Sanders warned: 'Be careful what you wish for. Suspend revalidation? It’s here to say, patients have a right to expect doctors to be fit for purpose. If it is removed, it will be replaced by something worse.'
GPs backed parts of a motion calling for a review and simplification of appraisal and revalidation, and recognising that taking part in the process cut time GPs have with patients.