Observations Body Politic

Revalidation seems to add little to the current appraisal process

BMJ 2012; 345 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.e7375 (Published 02 November 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;345:e7375
  1. Nigel Hawkes, freelance journalist, London
  1. nigel.hawkes1{at}btinternet.com

Ranks will close and feedback will be positive enough for all to win prizes

On the usually sound principle that there is nothing in British medicine that cannot be made worse by the involvement of the General Medical Council, I have long taken a beady eyed view of revalidation. Nobody can be against the general idea that doctors, like any other professionals, should be kept up to the mark, but it has always been questionable whether revalidation will do much to achieve it. There is a serious risk that revalidation will simply amount to a tsunami of paper in a system that already creaks under the weight of bumph on governance, quality assurance, and performance indicators.

The long gestation period and many false labour pains didn’t provide much cause for optimism, either. People started talking seriously about revalidation more than a decade ago, in the wake of the Bristol Royal Infirmary’s failures, and really good ideas don’t generally take that long to command approval. But, all credit to the GMC’s gritty determination to add another task to its bulging portfolio, it finally won through. The health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, gave his approval, and revalidation will begin on 3 December this …

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