This site is intended for health professionals only

by Steve Field
22 May 2014

Share this article

Blog: GP chief inspector on the role of revalidation

Can revalidation spot the next ‘Harold Shipman’? The chief inspector of general practice votes no – and explains why – in this blog post. 

I had the great pleasure of speaking with my fellow Chief Inspectors, Andrea Sutcliffe and Mike Richards at the NICE annual conference on Wednesday. You get a real sense of the united desire that the three of us have to really start ensuring that care is better for people in England at events like this, and personally I find it very inspiring to sit with, and be one of, such committed and truly talented people as Mike and Andrea.

I was asked at the conference by Dr Phil Hammond (who was compering the event) about revalidation and whether I have any confidence in it to help spot problems like another ‘Harold Shipman’. As I said on the stage, my simple answer to that is ‘no’.

I really support the concept of revalidation but would revalidation spot another ‘Shipman’? I don’t think it would. Shipman was a mass-murderer. There have been a number of changes brought in since then, including reform of the death certification process – appraisal and revalidation on their own might spot another one but it’s not set up to do that on its own.

That being said I absolutely support the appraisal and revalidation process. I completely support what Mike Bewick (as Deputy Medical Director of NHS England) is doing rolling out the process across England and the revalidation work done by Neil Dixon at the GMC.

We need you!

We are actively recruiting GPs, practice managers and practice nurses to be special professional advisors and be part of our new-style GP inspections working as part of our inspection teams.

The way that we inspect GP practices and out-of-hours GP services is changing and within this new approach we’ll be carrying out inspections that focus on answering five key questions about a service:

 – Are they safe? 

 – Are they effective? 

 – Are they caring? 

 – Are they responsive? 

 – Are they well-led? 

As well as focusing on the five key questions on our comprehensive inspections, we’ll always look at how services are provided to people in specific population groups.

For every NHS GP practice we’ll look at the quality of care for the following six key population groups:

 – Older people

 – People with long-term conditions

 – Mothers, babies, children and students

 – The working-age population and those recently retired

 – People in vulnerable circumstances who may have poor access to primary care

 – People experiencing a mental health problem and people with dementia

These special professional advisors (SpA) will be:

 – Paid travel expenses and a daily rate.

 – Trained and briefed by CQC before they inspect.

 – Using their skills, experience and expertise in focusing on the Key Lines of Enquiry (KLOEs). There will always be a lead inspector who is responsible for the planning and coordination of the inspection. The SpA will be asked to focus on specific lines of enquiry and report back to the team through corroboration meetings through the inspection.

 – Expected to make records in accordance with CQC methodology and to provide these at the end of the inspection – but not be the person writing up the whole report – tats the role of our CQC inspector.

We really do need your skills, expertise and experience to make our inspection valuable and relevant to GP Practice so please do considering coming and joining us. Tou can get details of how to join online

A full version of this blog post is available to view on the Care Quality Commission website.