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Revalidation for doctors

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 24 October 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1094

Should reflect doctors' performance and continuing professional development

  1. John Parboosingh, Director, professional development.
  1. Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Ottawa, Canada K1S 5N8

    The present public demand for periodic revalidation of doctors is inevitable. The tradition of graduating from a training programme and obtaining a licence for life seems naive in this era when the quality of care we provide is so dependent on our efforts to keep up to date. It is considerations such as these that have prompted Britain's General Medical Council to open discussions with the Academy of Royal Colleges and other professional bodies on the concept of regular revalidation of doctors on the specialist and generalist registers.

    The objectives of periodic revalidation are to encourage doctors to respect changes in societal values and integrate into their practices innovations that are shown to enhance patient care and also to give recognition to doctors who meet national standards of competence and performance. Delays in establishing such systems are understandable. In many countries regional shortages of specialists and primary care doctors will inevitably complicate the implementation of mandatory revalidation of doctors working in regions of greatest need. More importantly, the standards of competence and performance incorporated into a revalidation process must be sufficiently rigorous to distinguish reliably between those who should …

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