GMC publishes action plan to improve revalidation

Press Release

20 Jul 2017

The General Medical Council (GMC) has today (20 July 2017) unveiled a plan to implement the recommendations in Sir Keith Pearson’s report –Taking Revalidation Forward – published earlier this year.

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.

Charlie Massey, the GMC's Chief Executive

The plan has been agreed by the newly-established Revalidation Oversight Group, which includes representatives of stakeholder organisations across the UK, as well as the GMC itself.

It details work the GMC and others will do to improve medical revalidation, making it a more positive and meaningful experience for doctors, responsible officers, patients and everyone involved.

It includes commitments, by March 2018, to:

  • Provide clearer guidance for doctors and responsible officers on what is required from them for revalidation.
  • Support and strengthen processes for doctors working in multiple settings, in particular across the NHS and private practice. This includes making sure appraisal covers a doctor’s whole scope of practice, that organisations are sharing relevant information, and clarifying how designated bodies are expected to support doctors.
  • Offer more specific advice on how doctors should gather representative feedback from colleagues, including how those colleagues should be selected, making sure this is as robust and helpful as possible.
  • Identify how to make the patient feedback process easier and more valuable, seeking feedback from doctors and patients.
  • Create a simple and accessible way to explain the purpose and benefits of revalidation to patients.
  • Develop a proportionate way to monitor revalidation on an ongoing basis, to make sure it continues to meet its objectives.

In addition, medical royal colleges and faculties will update their guidance on revalidation, to clarify what are GMC requirements and what are their own recommendations for best practice.

Also, the Department of Health in England will lead a review of the Responsible Officer Regulations, with a view to establishing a connection to a designated body for some groups of doctors that don’t ordinarily have one and making sure only organisations with robust governance arrangements are able to oversee a doctor’s revalidation.

GMC Chief Executive, Charlie Massey, said:

‘A lot of work has been going on in the months since the publication of Sir Keith Pearson’s report and our initial response, both by the GMC and other organisations with roles in the revalidation process. 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.’
The Revalidation Oversight Group – successor to the Revalidation Advisory Board – is chaired by GMC Chief Executive Charlie Massey and includes representatives of all four UK health departments, the BMA, training bodies and employer and patient representatives.

Notes to editors

The General Medical Council (GMC) is an independent organisation that helps to protect patients and improve medical education and practice across the UK.

  • We decide which doctors are qualified to work here and we oversee UK medical education and training.
  • We set the standards that doctors need to follow, and make sure that they continue to meet these standards throughout their careers.
  • We take action when we believe a doctor may be putting the safety of patients, or the public's confidence in doctors, at risk.

We are not here to protect doctors - their interests are protected by others. Our job is to protect the public.

We are independent of government and the medical profession and accountable to Parliament. Our powers are given to us by Parliament through the Medical Act 1983.

We are a registered charity (number 1089278 with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, and number SC037750 with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator), we have to show that our aims are for public benefit.

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