Wales looks set to lead the way into revalidation after the GMC gave its provisional blessing to the country's appraisal and clinical governance systems.
The GMC said the Welsh appraisal model is 'likely to be fit for the purposes of revalidation'. Wales is now 'very likely' to be one of the revalidation pilots starting in 2011. Severn and Eastern deaneries are assessing the Welsh system.
'We have the UK's best appraisal system,' GPC Wales chairman Dr David Bailey said.
Professor Malcolm Lewis, director of postgraduate education for general practice at Cardiff University, said: 'The system is fine. It would allow responsible officers to decide whether or not to recommend a doctor for revalidation.'
Only one GP in Wales whose performance was causing concern was uncovered by the system.
However, Revalidation in General Practice in Wales, a joint report by the GMC and the Wales deanery said: 'Concerns about the performance of GPs are unlikely to be identified through the appraisal process.'
Poor practice is often picked up through clinical governance or performance management. Appraisal is then put off until concerns are dealt with. Ninety-one per cent of GPs in Wales are appraised under a country-wide web-based system. Last year in Monmouthshire and Torfaen, 98 per cent of GPs were appraised.
The all-Wales deanery offers 2,700 GPs integrated appraisal and continuing professional development (CPD).
'We get back huge amounts of information on learning needs, CPD and clinical governance,' said Professor Lewis.
GPs in Wales are paid £300 a year for appraisal, but there is no agreed England-wide payment, and some areas offer no fee. The cost of appraisal in Wales in 2008/9 was £2.8 million.
The Wales deanery is working with the RCGP to map its criteria, standards and evidence base to the college's revalidation requirements.