Revalidation must go back to the drawing board if it wants to win the support of the medical profession.
That’s the BMA’s hard-hitting feed back to the GMC’s current consultation Revalidation: the way ahead.
The BMA said that, as they stand, doctors cannot support the plans and the union had little confidence in them. Council chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum wants detailed answers on a number of stumbling blocks, including questions about the funding of the revalidation programme.
He said: “While the BMA agrees with the principle of revalidation we believe the process is seriously undermined by a number of factors that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
“The BMA will resist any proposals that are overly bureaucratic and cumbersome and that ultimately will take doctors away from treating patients. It is essential that any system we have in place is fair for all doctors across the board. ”
The BMA’s key concerns include uncertainties over cost; the complexity of the royal colleges’ specialist standards to re-certify doctors; and, the role of the royal colleges in sitting on revalidation panels and effectively regulating their members.
All doctors were issued with a licence to practise last November and a series of revalidation pilots in both primary and secondary care settings are being run around the country.
Revalidation should also only be rolled out after the pilots are completed and evaluated, the BMA said.
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC, replied that overall the BMA’s submission to the consultation appeared to welcome the GMC’s proposals.
He said: “There is a shared commitment that revalidation should not be overly burdensome or bureaucratic. We have made it clear that there are issues that need to be dealt with and more work to develop the approach – we have also made it clear that revalidation will only be introduced when all the systems are in place to ensure it works well for everyone.”
But Meldrum added: “The BMA is concerned that the proposed system will do very little to weed out underperforming doctors but will add yet another layer of bureaucracy to the doctor’s role. This does not make sense at a time when doctors are facing increasing pressure to spend more time with their patients. With the NHS facing cuts, this is not the time to spend invaluable resources on forcing doctors to dedicate time to box-ticking and form-filling exercises.”
Read the BMA’s response.
Read a blog on the issue.