More needs to be done to maximise the benefits of revalidation, a report finds.
One year into implementation, a report by the NHS Revalidation Support Team suggests that doctors, appraisers and responsible officers are, on average, taking longer than expected to participate in appraisal and revalidation.
The report also finds that while doctors value appraisal and continuing professional development, some feel that revalidation is not yet relevant to their needs.
The Early Benefits and Impact of Medical Revalidation report summarises research carried out in 2013-14 on the early benefits and impact of medical revalidation in England. The findings are based on an analysis of 3,500 responses to surveys on the impact of revalidation from doctors, appraisers, responsible officers and designated bodies.
It does say that revalidation is delivering value, namely through a continued increase in appraisal rates (which increased from 63% to 76% between March 2011 and March 2013) and indicative signs that concerns about a doctor’s practice are being identified at an earlier stage.
Another positive is an increased focus on the quality of appraisers and the appraisal process, the report suggests.
The review concurs with the King’s Fund’s report, Medical Revalidation: from compliance to commitment, showing that revalidation has been successful in driving compliance in the appraisal process for doctors but advises leaders not to ‘rest on their laurels’. For revalidation to reach its full potential it recommends leaders look beyond the process to encourage commitment to professional development and improving patient care.
Patients and the public also need clearer and more powerful roles in revalidation in the future, it says.
Allan Coffey, RST Chief Executive said: “The purpose of medical revalidation is to improve patient care by bringing all licensed doctors into a governed system that prioritises professional development and strengthens personal accountability. It is encouraging to see that revalidation is beginning to make a difference.”
Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said: “We know there is more for hospitals to do in supporting staff with their annual appraisals, but it is good to see that the quality and frequency of appraisals is increasing.”
NHS England took over responsibility for overseeing the implementation of revalidation across all designated bodies in England from the Department of Health in October 2013.
Professor Jenny Simpson, NHS England’s Clinical Director for Revalidation, said: “The revalidation programme is on course to meet the target of revalidating 20% of doctors this year. NHS England will build on the extensive work of the RST in taking revalidation forward, with the goal of revalidating all licensed doctors in England by March 2016.
“Revalidation is central to how NHS England is meeting its responsibilities to both patients and staff in improving safety and the quality of care. As the programme continues, we look forward to using the RST’s work, alongside the Department of Health’s long-term research programme, to identify further core benefits, so that we may continue to make improvements to patient care and prevent harm.”