Revalidation- Evaluating your fitness to Practice

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The General Medical Council, the governing body overseeing doctors revalidation processes, seeks to improve medical practice throughout the UK, with the ultimate aim of keeping patients safe. 

Just one of the methods that the GMC have in protecting patients is a process that validates the doctor as a safe and effective practitioner.  Registered doctors need to prove they are working to the required standard by a process known as revalidation. Due to COVID-19, revalidation was deferred back in March of this year. Instead, October now sees the start of the revalidation process for all UK doctors.

If you are a doctor and need support or have questions regarding revalidation, contact us today, where our experienced consultants can help you with appraisals and revalidation information. 

How often do I need to revalidate?

Every five years, doctors need to revalidate. Appraisals are yearly, and the current pandemic has forced changes to the March dates. Still, for now anyway, revalidation is a five-yearly compulsory action for all doctors licenced to practice in the UK.

What is the purpose of revalidation?

  • It demonstrates that the doctor is keeping up to date with knowledge and skill.
  • It also ensures there have been no concerns raised about your work.
  • One of the main aims of revalidation is to make sure that doctors provide a good level of quality care to their patients.
  • Revalidation is based on whole practice appraisals usually conducted by someone who works with you.

The research is clear when it comes to revalidation in the UK. The goal of revalidation, as stated by the profession’s regulator, the General Medical Council (GMC), was to give “extra confidence to patients that their doctor is regularly checked by their employer and the GMC” and ensuring all doctors “meet professional standards.” The framework is based on ‘Good Medical Practice’, the GMC’s core guidance for doctors. 1,2

 What do you need to do to prepare for revalidation?

Collect examples (a portfolio) of how you are keeping up to date, what Continued Professional Development (CPD) you have partaken in, and reflections (documented work notes) you have made during your practice. Have all relevant documents ready for appraisal and revalidation on time. There are six types of supporting information you must collect, reflect on, and discuss at your appraisal.

  1. Continuing professional development
  2. Quality improvement activity
  3. Significant events
  4. Feedback from patients or those to whom you provide medical services
  5. Feedback from colleagues
  6. Compliments and complaints

For more information click here

What are the benefits of revalidation?

Revalidation supports better practice, drives improvements in clinical governance and keeps you up to date.

Revalidation ensures doctors reflect on the current practice, therefore helping to improve performance. Making a record of events that occurred on your shift, reflecting on them, and asking if things could have been done differently promotes reflective practice and ultimately improves practice methods. Getting into the habit of challenging yourself to do better is good practice. The many benefits of reflecting on your practice are clearly documented and can significantly improve your skills as a health care provider. 3

Let’s face it; we all need to think about our practice regardless of what role we work in. By reflection, we can identify areas that need improvement coherently.

 Three ways to revalidate

A responsible officer or designated body can recommend you for revalidation – they may be a more senior doctor at your work. They will base their recommendation on your appraisal and any other issues involving your work.

You will also need an annual appraisal with a trained appraiser.

If you do not have a responsible doctor, then another senior doctor makes recommendations based on your appraisals and evidence (clinical governance information),

If you neither have a suitable officer or a suitable person then you can send an annual return, including your appraisal and evidence that there are no outstanding issues with your practice as a doctor. You may be asked to undertake a written knowledge test.

 How do I revalidate? Find a step by step guide here.

  1. Update your connection – Go to GMC online and follow the instructions.
  2. Collect supporting information – understand the types of information required and reflect on your appraisal.
  3. Have the appraisal – this is an annual whole practice appraisal, follow the advice and information on The Good Medical Practice framework for assessment and revalidation here.
  4. Revalidation process.  

 Conclusion

Revalidation protects patients by ensuring doctors are practising safely and efficiently. Areas of concern can be addressed through appraisal, and reflection serves as a useful point of focus for improvement. Are you ready for October's revalidation? 

 Visit www.gmc-uk.org to assess which of the routes to revalidation applies to you.  For more information visit NHS England

Sources

https://www.gmc-uk.org/registration-and-licensing/managing-your-registration/revalidation

Supporting information for appraisal and revalidation - GMC. https://www.gmc-uk.org/registration-and-licensing/managing-your-registration/revalidation/guidance-on-supporting-information-for-appraisal-and-revalidation/supporting-information-for-appraisal-and-revalidation

References

  1. General Medical Council. An introduction to revalidation. 2013. http://www.gmc-uk.org/doctors/revalidation/9627.asp. Accessed 10 Aug 2016.
  2. General Medical Council. Good medical practice, 2013. https://www.gmc-uk.org/static/documents/content/Good_medical_practice_-_English_1215.pdf. Accessed 5 Jan 2016.
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5673148/

 

 

3 Oct 2020
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