GMC statement on the publication of evaluating the regulatory impact of medical revalidation by UMbRELLA

Responding to the review published by UMbRELLA, Una Lane, the General Medical Council’s Director of Registration and Revalidation, said:

‘We made a commitment at the outset to review and learn from the initial experiences of revalidation. This report gives us an insight into the first few years and will help us as we continue to improve the process.

‘We knew that something on the scale of revalidating tens of thousands of doctors would take time to bed in, and would need to be reviewed and refined. But these are still early days and there are positives.

‘Most doctors now have regular appraisals, which help to address local concerns raised by doctors, particularly in relation to workplace and health issues.

‘Most doctors now collect the supporting information that revalidation requires, although we accept that some do not find the process as simple and straightforward as it could be.

‘Introducing a system for all licensed doctors was a significant step forward, and one requiring collaboration and commitment from all those involved in healthcare. Some don’t yet fully accept it as a professional responsibility, but we were aware there would be challenges.

‘UMbRELLA’s brief was to present us with a realistic picture of how revalidation has bedded-in across the four UK countries, helping us understand its impact, and where improvements can be made.

‘Many of the findings echo what we hear from doctors, via our teams on the ground, and were also included by Sir Keith Pearson in his review, published last year. A number of areas where the researchers feel improvements could be made are already being considered as part of our work following Sir Keith’s review.

‘We are addressing issues such as the challenges faced by locum doctors working outside traditional governance structures, the role patients and the public can play, and how being a reflective practitioner can improve the care a doctor gives patients.

‘We are continuing to work with other organisations to see where we can further ease the processes and reduce unnecessary burdens.

‘Deferral rates are higher for certain doctors, in particular those who are female, younger and from BME backgrounds. This is something we take very seriously, and we have begun work to identify and address any fairness issues.

‘Ultimately though we are encouraged to hear, from this research, that the process of revalidation has been implemented widely. We remain committed to maximising the benefits revalidation can bring to doctors and to patients.’