General Medical Council commissions first UK-wide evaluation of medical revalidation

The General Medical Council (GMC) has commissioned the first UK-wide evaluation of the system for revalidating doctors since the measure was introduced in 2012.

The evaluation team will be led by the Collaboration for the Advancement of Medical Education, Research and Assessment (CAMERA) at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry and includes: Improvement Science London, University College London; Manchester Business School; NHS Education for Scotland; the Wales Deanery, and; Belfast NHS Trust.

The findings of the evaluation will be reported in summer 2017.

Medical revalidation was introduced in December 2012. The process requires doctors who have a licence to practise medicine in the UK to demonstrate that they are up to date and fit to practise. Information from local annual appraisals, patient and colleague feedback, and links to local clinical governance are included in a doctor’s revalidation cycle.

The study will look at the long term impact of revalidation, and focus on four areas:

  • Information doctors collect to support their medical appraisal
  • A doctor’s medical appraisal
  • How responsible officers make revalidation judgements and identify concerning practice
  • Public and patient contribution in revalidation

It will take into account the views of and input from the full range of participants in the revalidation process, from doctors themselves to their colleagues, their employers, senior doctors called ‘responsible officers’, and patients and members of the general public.

The study is led by Dr. Julian Archer, Director of CAMERA. He said: “We are aware that, as the first UK-wide evaluation of doctor revalidation, our findings will be closely scrutinized. That’s why we have brought together a truly national team, incorporating experts from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.”
He added: “Medical revalidation is complex: it depends on policies and procedures governed by the GMC, and on management structures and processes within the UK healthcare system. Now is the time to evaluate how revalidation is making an impact.”
Una Lane, Director of registration and revalidation, General Medical Council, said: ‘‘We are pleased with the progress we have made since revalidation was introduced in late 2012. To date, we have revalidated over 69,000 doctors and have been hugely encouraged by the level of engagement and commitment we have seen from doctors and healthcare organisations right across the UK. We want to be sure that revalidation is making an impact on the ground and that we learn from the experience of all of those involved in the process.

“This is why we have engaged Dr Julian Archer and his team to undertake a significant programme of work over the next few years to evaluate the impact that the introduction of revalidation has had on doctors and healthcare organisations and the contribution it is making to the quality of care provided to patients. Dr Archer and his team have a wealth of experience in this area and I am confident this work will make a major contribution to the development of revalidation in the UK.”