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Revalidation report provides ‘wake up call’

14 October 2011

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NHS Medical Director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh has called for “rapid” progress to be made in quality and safety areas in preparation for revalidation of doctors in England.

A report by the NHS Revalidation Support Team (RST) ‘Review of integrated clinical governance in the context of medical revalidation’ aims to provide a ‘snapshot’ of the state of organisational readiness for medical revalidation in England at March 2011.

The RST found 97.8% of designated bodies had appointed a responsible officer – a figure described as “pretty efficient” and “encouraging” by Dr Maurice Conlon, a programme director at the RST.

Less encouragingly, 27.3% of doctors had not completed an appraisal between April 2010 and March 2011.

Dr Conlon, however, believes a number of appraisals are taking place “under the radar” and the figure is “in fact lower than that”.

“Appraisal data needs to be tidied up and tightened up,” he said.

“We are not going to reach 100% but we need to get that figure up to 90% by next spring.”

The report also shows just over half of designated bodies’ medical appraisal policies met Responsible Officer Regulations 2010 requirements.

Only 30.2% met requirements for their policies relating to re-skilling rehabilitation, remediation and targeted support.

Dr Conlon said the progress towards revalidation has been “steady” over the past couple of years but thanks to the implementation of the Medical Profession (Responsible Officers) Regulations, which came into effect in January 2011, this progress has “accelerated”.

“The Responsible Officers that have been appointed are highly skilled, highly motivated people, and they are determined to take this agenda forward,” he said.

“They are kicking the bins and banging on doors to be seen and heard.”

Sir Bruce Keogh notes that while good progress has been
made in some areas, “all boards in the health sector must grip the issues and make 
rapid progress.”

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the General Medical Council, echoes Keogh’s statements.

He argues: ‘This report is a wake up call to health service organisations in England – they must put in place the right systems for monitoring and supporting clinical practice.

“The report shows there is clearly more to do in some areas…we expect to see further progress over the coming months.” 

Dr Conlon accepts the critique from Keogh and Dickson but said there needs to be a “tolerance in revealing deficiencies in order to address them”.

“What impresses me most about this report is that it has been put together by Responsible Offers themselves,” he said.

“It is refreshing to see them being honest, open and transparent with their answers.”

Do you agree that the progress towards revalidation of doctors in England has seen an acceleration? Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

“No! This is nothing but another form of Apartheid for East Asian doctors” – Cathy Care, Norwich