Doctors to be re-assessed every year to ensure they are fit to practise
GMC plan to start revalidation process this DecemberDoctor warns it will 'demoralise' the profession



10:22 GMT, 20 July 2012

GPs will have an annual assessment leading to a 'revalidation' every five years

Checks: GPs will have an annual assessment leading to a 'revalidation' every five years

Doctors skills are to be reassessed every year to ensure they are fit to practise, the General Medical Council (GMC) said.

At present, doctors can go for their entire career without facing any formal assessment of their competency once they have qualified.

But from December this year, doctors will be checked to make sure they are still fit to stay on the medical register, the GMC said.

This would take the form of an annual appraisal with a more comprehensive meeting every five years, if the scheme is approved by the Health Secretary.

Doctors will be expected to demonstrate they meet clinical standards and have kept up to speed with the latest developments in their field, while appraisals will include feedback from patients and colleagues.

They will be appraised by the medical director of their hospital, GP practise or specialist organisation.

Audits of how patients fare after seeing their doctor will also be included, alongside a requirement to ensure there are no causes for concern in the way a doctor works.

The GMC want to revalidate the majority of licensed doctors for the first time by the end of March 2016.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC, said: 'Revalidation is on its way.

'From the end of this year we will begin to tell each doctor the date when he or she will be expected to revalidate. We are entering a new phase – after years of discussion about the principle, the reality of revalidation is imminent.

'We will be ready to start delivering revalidation from the end of this year and we are confident that the healthcare systems across the UK will also be ready. Now is the time to get on with this.'

The GMC argues that the process will give patients greater confidence that their doctors are up to date and over time will improve quality of care.

However, a GP who works in a deprived area of the UK and blogs for said revalidation would demoralise the profession.

The 'Jobbing Doctor' wrote: 'Many experienced doctors feel that revalidation is bureaucratic, tedious and ineffective. There are few practising doctors who feel that it will achieve what it purports to do.

'It is a sledgehammer to miss a nut.'