Revalidation delay ‘welcome’

Revalidation delay ‘welcome’

PLANS to delay the rollout of revalidation have been welcomed by doctors’ groups.

The policy to regularly test doctors’ competence will now not come into force until at least 2012, health minister Andrew Lansley announced. He said he didn’t have “sufficient confidence” that the current plans allowed enough time for the pilot projects to run, and said they should be continued for another year.

Mr Lansley said he also wanted to “be able to assure doctors, employers and commissioners” that the proposals are proportionate. But there are no signs the minister plans to scrap the scheme entirely, as he said “'revalidation is something that the public expect their doctors to undertake”.

The move has received the backing of the Royal College of General Practitioners, the British Medical Association and the General Medical Council.

The BMA last month branded the plans “expensive and disproportionate” and said they would add to bureaucracy without eliminating incompetent doctors.

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said: “The BMA is pleased that the Department of Health in England has echoed the concerns of many doctors that, for revalidation to work, it must be based on good evidence and ensure their confidence that what is being proposed is fair, proportionate and will support their professional desire to improve their practice

 "We, therefore, welcome the decision to extend the period of piloting for a further year and to make sure that the benefits are seen to be robust and achievable and the costs affordable, before a final decision is taken as to the timing and nature of any roll out of revalidation.”

RCGP chair Professor Steve Field said the success of revalidation depended on “appropriate clinical governance systems in primary care organisations across the UK, appropriate funding and a solution to the question of mediation. He added: “I support the secretary of state’s view that piloting should be extended so that we can learn more, particularly about costs, and how we can make this as bureaucracy-light as possible.”

GMC chair Professor Peter Rubin also welcomed the move, saying: “Like the Secretary of State, we believe patients expect this to happen and that, if implemented effectively, it will support all doctors in improving their practice. Revalidation… will be vital in helping doctors deliver high quality care.”

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