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Key reaction to Sir Keith Pearson’s review of Revalidation and recommendations

Charlie Massey, Chief Executive of the General Medical Council

“It is reassuring to hear that revalidation is settling in and beginning to impact on clinical practice, professional behaviour and patient safety. But it is still relatively new, and we acknowledge the difficulties and challenges identified by Sir Keith in his report.

“Revalidation has embedded the system of annual appraisals for doctors, and is integral to assuring patients that a doctor’s fitness to practise is checked regularly, but it is important that we learn and improve the process so all doctors find it a positive experience.

“Doctors are under increasing pressure, and it is vital they are given the appropriate time and support for their own learning and wellbeing. It is important that revalidation is made as efficient as possible, while maximising its impact.

“The report points to evidence that patients expect there to be systems in place for checking that doctors continue to be safe to practise, but they are not generally aware of the important role they can play in this process.

“We agree with Sir Keith’s recommendation that more should be done to raise the profile and understanding of revalidation with the public, how the process contributes to improving the quality of patient care, how they can be involved and to encourage more feedback about doctors.

“I am concerned by the findings that some doctors are asked, as part of their revalidation, to provide evidence or carry out activities above and beyond what is required and detailed in our guidance.

“As Sir Keith recommends, we shall work with the royal colleges and with employers so that our guidance, and theirs, are clear about what are mandatory requirements for revalidation and where there is scope for flexibility. Everyone needs to be clear on what is, and what is not, necessary for revalidation.

“The GMC will work with the four governments of the UK, healthcare organisations and others to take Sir Keith’s recommendations forward. We will begin work immediately on the changes we can deliver, but some that will particularly benefit doctors and the public require action from others in healthcare. We want to help make this happen, by working collaboratively, offering support and sharing information.

“Sir Keith’s review, and his recommendations, will make an important contribution to further developing revalidation to make sure it is fit for purpose and commands the confidence of all.

“It took a number of organisations across the UK to work together to set up revalidation in 2012, and we need to same level of commitment now, from all those involved.’

Danny Mortimer, Chief Executive of NHS Employers

“We welcome the report and its recommendations. It is important that revalidation goes beyond compliance to provide assurance to patients, the public, doctors, parliament and employing organisations.

“Employers look forward to working with the GMC and doctors themselves to strengthen revalidation in the years ahead.”

Dr Mark Porter, BMA council chair

“The vast majority of doctors are good doctors – they have the skills, experience and expertise to deliver first-class care.

“Revalidation helps strengthen patient trust by ensuring doctors have a system of regular appraisals.

“Reflecting many of the concerns raised by the BMA, this review highlights the importance of making the process less burdensome and more consistent. It also emphasises the importance of revalidation not being used as a tool to achieve objectives beyond the scope of the GMC’s requirements.

“While many of the recommendations will be broadly welcomed by doctors, it not yet clear how this how these will be turned into a reality. The BMA will continue to press the GMC and other bodies about the actions needed to relieve the unnecessary burden that revalidation can sometimes place on doctors, in order to ensure the process delivers for patients, doctors and the NHS.”

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