MPs agree revalidation is 'only the beginning'
4 December 2012
Revalidation is ‘only the beginning’ and some aspects, such as gathering patient feedback, should be more challenging, MPs said in a report yesterday.
The Commons health select committee published the findings of its 2012 accountability hearing with the GMC on the day revalidation began.
Select committee chair Stephen Dorrell said: ‘After a decade of delays we welcome the implementation of the GMC’s long-standing commitment to five-yearly revalidation of practising doctors. It is important to recognise, however, that — as the GMC itself has made clear — today’s welcome development is only the beginning.’
He added: ‘We welcome the fact that the GMC is rightly concerned to be fair to all doctors, but the purpose of the system is to give patients the guarantee that any doctor practising medicine in the UK delivers high quality and up to date medical care.’
The report, 2012 Accountability Hearing with the GMC, calls for:
- The GMC to monitor and upgrade revalidation as it is implemented
- The GMC to clarify ‘as a matter of urgency’ how it will tell patients when a doctor requires remedial measures
- Designated bodies that employ doctors to establish official procedures for the reskilling, rehabilitation and ‘remediation’ of doctors found to have shortcomings
- Patient feedback, currently due to be gathered over a five-year cycle, to be more frequent.
BMA concerns noted
The report notes the BMA’s concerns about remediation, and its lobbying efforts to ensure there is a consistent, fair and equitable approach to remediation funding.
It also notes that more than 40 per cent of designated bodies did not have formal procedures for the reskilling, rehabilitation and remediation of doctors and urges the GMC to tackle this.
MPs also state that they are ‘disappointed’ that no progress has been made to reform European legislation, which means the UK cannot systematically test the English-language skills of EU doctors who want to work in the UK.
GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: ‘We are determined that this should only be the start — the system will develop and improve as we build on the excellent progress we have made so far with patient groups, doctors, employers, the BMA and medical royal colleges. We remain committed to performing effectively across all of our functions and continuing to rise to the challenges of protecting patients.’
BMA council chair Mark Porter has pledged the association will be monitoring revalidation to ensure it is ‘fair and consistent across the UK and to make sure those doctors who need support receive it as soon as possible’.