Two thirds of GPs say revalidation has not benefited their clinical practice

Two in three GPs do not believe that revalidation has had a positive impact on their clinical practice, a GPonline poll has found.

GPs have criticised medical revalidation as a 'tick-box exercise', with two thirds (67%) reporting that they do not believe revalidation has had a positive impact on their clinical practice.

Some 16% of GPs said that revalidation has positively impacted on their clinical practice, while 17% said they did not know whether it had made a difference.

The GPonline poll of 440 GPs also found one in eight (13%) are required by their local CCG to complete tasks or provide extra information over and above GMC guidance as part of the process.

One GP said: ‘Another waste of time and resources – revalidation and appraisals have not improved my ability to provide good patient care – it has just demoralised me further and added unnecessary stress.’

The GMC launched an action plan last month setting out how it will overhaul revalidation, which it says will make the process ‘more positive and meaningful’ for doctors.

Revalidation

Several GPs warned that the workload behind revalidation actually took away from them learning. ‘It has a negative impact on my enthusiasm for learning because of the need to record everything and discuss in immense detail,’ said one respondent.

Another said: ‘Having to prove I've learned or reflected takes time away from genuine learning and reflection. It adds to the bleeding of work into home life, making the work-life balance problem in general practice even worse.’

But some expressed their support for the scheme, with one calling the scheme ‘burdensome but necessary’.

Another added: ‘I think revalidation and appraisal is a valuable way of encouraging good clinical practice and reflecting on what we do to keep ourselves effective.’

One GP said: ‘Although I can see some point to ensuring that all GPs have had satisfactory appraisals, the process seems variable. I'm not sure that I am a better doctor as a result.’

Improving the process

GMC chief executive Charlie Massey said: ‘Revalidation is integral to assuring patients that a doctor’s fitness to practise is checked regularly and in his most recent report Sir Keith Pearson concluded that it has been successful in embedding the system of annual appraisals for doctors.

‘Before revalidation was introduced many organisations did not have systems in place to monitor how well or badly their doctors were practising. This is just the beginning and we recently unveiled a raft of commitments to further improve revalidation, including providing clearer guidance for doctors and responsible officers on what is required from them for revalidation.

‘That this survey has found that GPs are beginning to find revalidation valuable in improving patient care is encouraging and tallies with the larger, independent UMbRELLA survey of 27,000 doctors which reported that 42% of doctors and up to 47% of GPs had changed their practice or behaviour as a result of their most recent appraisal.

‘We will continue to learn and improve the process so that all doctors find it a positive experience.’

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