Hospital Dr News

Revalidation is starting to make a difference but improvements can be made 

Four out of 10 doctors are changing their practice as a result of their last appraisal.

This is the key finding of independent research commissioned by the GMC which surveyed more than 26,000 licensed doctors.

The survey shows that more than half of those doctors aged under 50 have changed their practice.

The findings are from an interim report from a UK-wide collaboration of researchers, known as UMbRELLA and led by Plymouth University.

This report is part of a three-year study into the impact of revalidation, following its introduction in December 2012.

Findings show that 90% of surveyed doctors have had a medical appraisal in their career, 94% of whom had had an appraisal in the previous 12 months.

Around a third of doctors said revalidation has improved the appraisal process, and more than 40% of doctors believe appraisals are effective in helping doctors to improve their clinical practice – and less than a third disagreed.

Doctors in some specialties (such as anaesthetics, psychiatry and emergency medicine) struggle to collect patient feedback. Patient feedback is the most helpful information to support reflection on their practice.

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the GMC, said: “We introduced revalidation to provide greater assurance that doctors are up to date and fit to treat patients, and to give them the opportunity regularly to reflect on their practice. We are pleased that the findings from both reports show that revalidation is starting to have an impact. This is encouraging for patients and doctors.”

A further revalidation report has been published by a collaboration of the Universities of Manchester, Plymouth and York on behalf of the Department of Health in England. The report sets out the findings of an online survey of Responsible Officers.

It concludes that revalidation has had important impacts on medical performance and identifies areas where the process could be made more effective.

Findings include 85% of Responsible Officers said that their organisation’s appraisal systems had changed as a result of the implementation of revalidation – mostly for the better.

77% of Responsible Officers report that doctors’ participation in appraisal has had a positive impact on their clinical practice with 58% saying it has made it a ‘little better’ and 19% saying a ‘lot better’.

Dickson said: “But we cannot be complacent – both reports highlight issues which show the system can be improved. We want revalidation to be a positive experience and we want to maximise how it can contribute to high quality and safer care. At the same time, we fully understand the pressures that doctors are under and the different context they are working in. We will be taking all this into account as we work with others to shape the future of revalidation.”

The reports will feed into the revalidation review, being conducted by Sir Keith Pearson, Chair of the GMC’s Revalidation Advisory Board. The GMC will assess the findings of the interim report, the Department of Health report, along with Sir Keith’s recommendations, when his report is published later this year.

Read more on the report.

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