The GMC has recently announced a plan to improve revalidation, with its aim to make the process less burdensome for doctors.

Acting on recommendations from the report 'Taking Revalidation Foward' by Keith Pearson, the GMC has pledged to do the following:
  • provide doctors and responsible officers with 'clearer guidance' on what is required of them for revalidation;
  • offer 'more specific advice' on how doctors should gather colleague feedback, including how to select the colleagues; and
  • improve the revalidation process for doctors working across different settings, including the NHS and private practice, so that it 'covers a doctor's whole scope of practice'
Sir Keith has also recommended that revalidation be renamed 'relicensing', as this would be more meaningful to patients.

One suggestion is that patients should have the opportunity to give feedback following every doctor interaction, which goes straight into their doctor's Revalidation portfolio.

In response, the GMC said it will consult doctors and patients to 'identify how to make the patient feedback process easier and more valuable', by March next year.

The medical royal colleges will also be updating their revalidation guidance to clarify the GMC's requirements as well as their own recommendations, the GMC added.

Meanwhile, the Department of Health will review rules for who should revalidate locums and other doctors who do not have an obvious Responsbile Officer.

GMC chair, Charley Massey, said: 'We’ve held discussions with representatives of doctors, patients and other bodies who deliver revalidation across the UK, focusing on the key actions required to make improvements, without adding additional cost or burden. This plan and the commitments in it, is the result of that initial joint work.

‘But it’s just the beginning, and it’s vital now that we maintain the momentum. We need the continued commitment from a wide range of organisations to make revalidation a better experience for doctors, especially at a time when they are under ever-increasing pressure.

‘Revalidation is integral to assuring patients that we regularly confirm that a doctor remains fit to practise. Our focus now is continuing to work with other organisations, getting their feedback and input, as we act on commitments set out in this plan.’

BMA chair, Dr Chaand Nagpaul, said that the BMA 'supports the principle of revalidation', adding: 'We see this action plan as an opportunity to reduce the burden that revalidation imposes on doctors.

'In particular, we want to see implementation of the recommendation from Sir Keith Pearson’s review that local organisations should not use revalidation as a lever to achieve objectives beyond the GMC’s revalidation requirements.

’We also agree with Sir Keith that doctors should be able to challenge decisions they feel are unfair.

Dr Nagpaul added that 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'.

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