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RCGP response to new government white paper

22 February 2007

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Yesterday (Wednesday 21 February), the government published Trust, Assurance and Safety – The Regulation of Health Professionals, a white paper setting out a programme of reform to the UK’s system for the regulation of health professionals.

Today (Thursday 22 February), the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) issued the following statement:

“We welcome the opportunity to comment on the publication of this important white paper, and are pleased that it recognises that the vast majority of doctors provide good clinical care.
“We agree with the underlying principles – particularly the emphasis on patient safety, the welfare and support of doctors and strengthening lay involvement – and support the package of measures designed to improve standards and safeguard patients.
“The College has advocated a proper and supportive system of revalidation, and we welcome proposals to pilot recertification. The College aim is to support all GPs and provide them with the tools to meet their obligations. We will adopt an inclusive approach in formulating proposals for recertification, working with our partners to ensure that this development is workable, supportive and influenced by the profession itself.
“The proposed changes to the appraisal system and the introduction of a summative element will concern GPs and appraisers. We can understand this, as GPs believe strongly that appraisal should remain formative and educational. We will therefore work closely with the NHS, GMC and other stakeholders to ensure that there is proper consultation and discussion about the proposed changes.”
RCGP Chairman Professor Mayur Lakhani said: “Medical regulation has been the subject of intense controversy for the best part of a decade, and the white paper should move us on from discussion to delivery. It marks an end to uncertainty and provides the detail and clarity that both patients and doctors need.
“We now have the opportunity to move the debate forward and further improve standards of patient care. This represents a considerable implementation challenge for the health community, and we will be working with our partners, including colleagues on the GPC, to take this forward. It is important that proposals are piloted and proportionate, but that time away from frontline patient care is minimised.”