New research launched today, 1 September 2014, has concluded that there are seven key issues that need to be addressed to ensure the future success of doctor revalidation, the most profound revision in medical regulation since the Medical Act of 1858.
The research has been funded by the Health Foundation, an independent health care charity, as part of a long-term programme looking at different aspects of revalidation. The work has been carried out by academics at the Collaboration for the Advancement of Medical Education, Research and Assessment (CAMERA) at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry.
After over a decade of debate, revalidation for doctors was introduced by the General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK in December 2012 as a requirement for all registered doctors to demonstrate on regular basis that they are ‘up to date and fit to practice’. It makes progress from the historic system of a one-off registration of doctors post-qualification, and provides assurances to the public about clinical standards.
According to the research, the seven issues in need of address to ensure that revalidation achieves its aims include:
- Consistency in the appraisal process via a system of ongoing independent evaluation;
- Ensuring revalidation is neither an appraisal ‘tick box’, nor unwieldy and bureaucratic;
- More rigorous checks on evidence to help the appraiser and responsible officer with their judgements;
- The introduction of systems to help doctors collate the evidence needed for the revalidation appraisal;
- A clearer understanding of how inclusive patient feedback should be built into an appraisal as supporting evidence;
- Clarification of remediation processes, including financial implications for NHS trusts and individual doctors’ and;
- Ongoing monitoring of revalidation to ensure it delivers its stated aims.
The research was led by Dr Julian Archer, Director of CAMERA. He said: “Speaking to doctors and appraisers at the beginning of revalidation, when people were on ‘high alert’, gave us some interesting insights into revalidation in practice – including the views and opinions of everyone within the process, their views of what appraisal is for and how the process differs between primary and secondary care. As well as highlighting seven key areas for consideration, our research also paves the way for a full-scale evaluation of revalidation across the UK.”
Darshan Patel, Research Manager at the Health Foundation, comments: “As a charity dedicated to improving quality of health care in the UK, we see revalidation as an essential ingredient when it comes to improving quality and to assess the skills and standards of our doctors. Only with this added to the mix can the medical profession ensure that a high standard of care is available to all.”