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Obstacles remain to revalidation implementation

Doctors leaders warn there are still obstacles to the introduction of revalidation, as the GMC insists the system is on track to start later this year.

Last week, the GMC council received a report (PDF) from the regulator’s revalidation delivery board, stating it will be able to deliver the remaining key milestones by December.

But BMA council GMC working party chair Brian Keighley said several issues remained to be addressed.

He said: ‘Appraisal is still patchy in secondary care, the systems to provide doctor-specific information on practice are far from ready, and there is still no clarity over equitable arrangements for remediation and backfill costs for GPs.’

The GMC report states that the regulator has the necessary systems, process and infrastructure in place, including its own ROs (responsible officers), to support the introduction of revalidation in December.

An independent assessment by the regulator’s internal auditors concluded that the revalidation programme planning team was operating effectively and meeting its objectives.

Deadline notices

This work includes issuing notices to doctors on when revalidation recommendations need to be submitted by their ROs.

GMC director of continued practice and revalidation Una Lane said doctors would be contacted from December about this, although some might know their dates before then as they would have been involved in discussions with ROs locally.

She added: ‘Our intention is to confirm dates to all doctors by March 2013.’

Ms Lane said the revalidation dates for currently licensed doctors would likely be within the next three years to March 2016, with this possibly stretched over a five-year period for trainees. All doctors should have at least six months’ notice of their dates.

Dr Keighley acknowledged that the GMC had been working hard to produce a workable system within the required timescale.

But he added: ‘Any system of revalidation needs to be simple, proportionate and achievable for doctors. While the GMC feels ready, this is not necessarily the case with local appraisal systems upon which revalidation depends.’