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Medicopolitical Digest

Senior medical staffs conferenceJunior doctors conferenceBMA's ARM agenda

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 12 June 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:1628

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Senior medical staffs conference

Revalidation must be relevant

Senior hospital doctors support the principle of revalidation provided that it is properly funded and introduced simultaneously for all doctors.

The chairman of the Central Consultants and Specialists Committee, Dr Peter Hawker, told the senior medical staffs conference last week, “Revalidation should not be a threat. It means nothing more than showing we are able to do our job.” He told the meeting that the developing concept of clinical governance plus external peer review were crucial. He warned, however, that there was a price which was too high to pay. “There is a danger that a system will emerge that is irrelevant to actual clinical practice. If a system of constant reinquisition is introduced and if time which could be better spent on caring for patients is sacrificed to satisfying some unattainable,mystical concept of perfection we will speak out.”

The conference defeated a motion from the West Midlands that clinical governance procedures would provide sufficient confirmation of a doctor's fitness to practise to confer automatic revalidation by the General Medical Council.

Dr Edwin Borman, a consultant anaesthetist in Coventry, believed that the profession had an opportunity to take control of the mechanism through clinical governance. The funding would come from the NHS and individual doctors would not be made scapegoats.

But although clinical governance could inform revalidation, Dr Brian Keighley, a general practitioner member of the GMC, urged caution.“We must not hitch a professional issue to a device which is entirely an animal of the NHS. We might find that our professional values are compromised.”

Dr Peter Hawker said that revalidation had to be based on professional self regulation. “Clinical governance is still untested and will affect other groups.” It would be part of the process, “but without proper peer review we will not have a system which will command …

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