Intended for healthcare professionals


Educator with a vision

BMJ 1999; 319 doi: (Published 17 July 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;319:146

John Parboosingh, director of professional development at the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, talked to Tessa Richards about how to maintain doctors' competence

The pressure on doctors to prove their continued fitness to practise has never been greater. The fact that public, political, and managerial concern has been at least as much behind it as professional drive is history. Now the challenge is how best to respond.

It is widely accepted that self selected continuing medical education programmes cannot guarantee lifelong professional competence. The problem is that there is no consensus on what sort of educational prescription can deliver such a guarantee. As a result, a plethora of different educational initiatives are being tried and tested internationally. Meanwhile the trend has been for licensing bodies and professional associations to introduce increasingly proscriptive continuing educational requirements. In the United States, for example, periodic recertification has become a way of life for most doctors.

In the United Kingdom the General Medical Council is developing plans to introduce periodic revalidation for all practising doctors. Its blueprint will be on the table by May 2001. Revalidation will be linked …

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