As Zholia Alemi managed to revalidate, is this process fit for purpose?

Does the fact that Zholia Alemi managed to revalidate show that revalidation is not fit for purpose?

It is important to understand that is not a process whereby doctors’ past qualifications are re-verified. Instead, it looks at what the doctor has done to retain and build on their knowledge and skills over the last few years prior to revalidation. Doctors must show how they have reflected on their practice through annual appraisal, after which their responsible officer will make a recommendation to revalidate, defer or not revalidate. 

We’ve made a number of improvements to revalidation since Zholia Alemi went through this process. Following Sir Keith Pearson’s review of revalidation, which was published in 2017, we and our partners have been working to address his various recommendations.

Some of these improvements are: 

  • we’ve produced better guidance to support organisations in sharing information about doctors’ practice to make sure concerns relating to patient safety and trust are shared reliably and consistently across the healthcare system. The principles in this guidance also provide clarity about what doctors should tell their responsible officer
  • we’ve developed a new designated body checklist and NHS England has produced guidance that sets out the main responsibilities for making sure that adequate governance and support is in place for locum doctors (Zholia Alemi was employed as a locum for a significant period of time)
  • we’ve also updated our revised clinical governance handbook for organisations that employ, contract or oversee the practice of doctors in the UK. It outlines the role that they should play in governance for doctors and provides clearer advice about annual appraisals, managing concerns and pre-employment checks.

The Department of Health and Social Care (England) also agrees with Sir Keith’s view that that checks on locum doctors working in the NHS need to be more robust, and plans to consult on new legislation that would deliver this in the early part of 2019. We continue to call for this and hope it will now progress as a matter of urgency.