Final report on revalidation published

Revalidation, launched in 2012, signified an important change in the way UK doctors are regulated. In 2014, keen to learn from the profession’s early experiences, we were commissioned by the GMC to undertake the first UK wide independent study into revalidation.

Our team of researchers and revalidation implementers, together known as UMbRELLA, were thrilled and eager to take on this important work.

Having a long-standing background in healthcare delivery – currently as a paediatric consultant as well as having advocacy roles in healthcare and education - I have a particular interest in this area which made leading the research all the more valuable.

The research was wide-ranging, encompassing nine literature reviews, eight surveys with over 85,000 participants, 44 appraisal recordings and 156 interviews with doctors and lay representatives.

You can find the full report of our findings here but to summarise some of the key points, we found that:

  • most doctors have been brought into a governed system, with a rise in engagement in annual appraisal
  • there is a variation in revalidation outcomes and experience of revalidation for some groups of doctors
  • while reflection in appraisal is key for generating change, reflection is often seen as just a product of appraisal, and not necessarily translated into ongoing reflective practice
  • both doctors’ and patients’ engagement with patient feedback is inconsistent, and current patient feedback tools require refinement.

Having had regular discussions with the GMC throughout the course of this research and having kept them updated on issues as they arose, we know that they have already started to address many of key learnings from our report through the recommendations made by Sir Keith Pearson.

This research also complements a Department of Health and Social Care study, looking at the ‘top down’ impact of revalidation on organisations in England.

We want to thank all doctors who shared their experiences throughout the course of the research programme which have helped inform this important piece of work. I look forward to seeing the positive changes that come about as a result of this for doctors.

More information 

  • Read our response to the research
  • About UMbRELLA. UMbRELLA is led by health education academics from the Collaboration for the Advancement of Medical Education Research and Assessment (CAMERA) at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry. The consortium also includes Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, Healthcare Improvement Scotland, NHS Education for Scotland, Manchester Business School at the University of Manchester, University College London and the Wales Deanery.