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7,500 UK Doctors Revalidate in First Six Months

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12 Jul 2013


More than 7,500 doctors, including some of the UK's most senior clinicians, have been revalidated by the General Medical Council (GMC) during the first six months of its new system of checks.


The introduction of revalidation in December - the biggest shake up in medical regulation for more than 150 years - means the UK's 235,000 licensed doctors are now legally required to show the GMC that they are competent and fit to practise.


The system is based on an annual appraisal to which doctors are expected to bring information about their practice, including complaints and compliments from their patients as well as evidence that they are keeping up to date.


Medical leaders - including Professor Sir Peter Rubin, Chair of the GMC, Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS Medical Director for England and Dr Clare Gerada, Chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners - were among the first to be revalidated following introduction of the checks on 3 December 2012.


In the first six months, 7,663 doctors had their recommendation for revalidation approved by the GMC. They will continue to have annual checks over the next five years, after which they will be due to be revalidated again. By the end of this year the GMC expects to confirm that up to 30,000 UK doctors have revalidated. The aim is for the vast majority of doctors to go through the process by 2016.


The decision to revalidate a doctor's licence is made following a positive recommendation to the GMC from their Responsible Officer - a senior doctor, usually a medical director, who oversees the local system and has to make sure the doctors on his or her list are practising safely and effectively.  


The UK is the first country in the world to introduce revalidation across its whole healthcare system, covering GPs, hospital doctors, locums and those working in the independent sector. The GMC has already begun work on how to evaluate the system as it rolls out.


Niall Dickson the GMC's Chief Executive and Registrar said:


'After years of debate and planning we are now on the road with revalidation and delighted with the way it is working so far. The success of the first six months is a significant achievement for the doctors who have revalidated and the organisations they work for. We hope the doctors have found it useful to reflect on their practice and to get feedback for both patients and colleagues. For some doctors this will be a big change but most should already have been having appraisals and reflecting on their practice throughout their careers.


'Already revalidation has had a real impact on the ground with improvements in hospitals and other settings in the oversight of clinical practice. This is about helping to make sure patients in the UK receive safe, effective care. We are confident that over time revalidation can make an important contribution to the quality of care that patients receive, giving them increased confidence that the doctors who treat them are up to date and fit to practise.'


Dr Mike Bewick, Senior Responsible Officer for Revalidation and Deputy Medical Director NHS England, said:


'NHS England is pleased with the progress the new revalidation system has achieved. NHS England, through our regional and area team structures, is increasing capacity so that 20 per cent of doctors will be revalidated by 31st March 2014 and with the support of the GMC we are confident this figure will be achieved.'

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