Dr Gerard Panting, of the Medical Protection Society, answers questions on aspects of revalidation
Q Revalidation has attracted a lot of publicity but I am still by no means sure what I have to do about it. Can you explain?
A Revalidation will require new legislation. Further consultation to finalise the proposals is now taking place and is due to be completed on 6 September, but the main thrust is well known and very unlikely to change.
The main principle is that every 5 years, doctors who wish to remain in practice must submit evidence of their continuing fitness to practise. For the majority of NHS GPs, the revalidation folder will consist mainly of the annual appraisals during the revalidation period together with declarations of probity and health.
It is also useful to keep all evidence of CPD/CME and audit procedures together with the revalidation materials as these will provide extra evidence for the revalidation group when studying your portfolio.
Letters of thanks from patients could also be usefully kept in the revalidation folder. It remains to be seen whether or not complaints and other adverse incidents also have to be included.
The important point to remember is that failing to collect evidence means that the revalidation group may be unable to make a positive recommendation to the GMC with the only alternative route being some form of assessment such as the GMC performance procedures.
All doctors will be entitled to remain on the medical register whether they revalidate or not, but only those who do revalidate will have a licence to practise.
Q What is the timetable for revalidation?
A The legislative framework for revalidation should be in place by the end of 2002. Doctors should keep evidence of their fitness to practise from 1st January 2003.
The first tranche of doctors to be revalidated will present their evidence to revalidation groups in 2005, but it will not be until 2008 that doctors will present documentation covering the full 5-year period. Thereafter, revalidation will take place on a 5-yearly cycle.
Q Revalidation seems to be highly dependent on annual appraisal which is not yet in place. Can we be sure that annual appraisal will work?
A The GP negotiators have now reached agreement with the Department of Health on the introduction of annual appraisal. As from April 2002, a system is being introduced based on an interview.
Appraisers will be GPs working to locally agreed pro formas, and to meet revalidation criteria the main competencies in the GMC?s Good Medical Practice will have to be addressed. These are evidence of good medical practice, maintaining good medical practice, relationships with patients, working with colleagues, teaching and training, probity and health.
It will be a contractual requirement for GPs to participate in appraisal with a reciprocal duty on PCTs (in England) to provide the requisite resources.
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