Intended for healthcare professionals

Medicopolitical Digest

Medicopolitical digestSenior medical staffs conferenceCCSC chairman issues challenges to the governmentGMC spells out proposed reformsMedicine needs doctors from all walks of lifePublic confidence in doctors remains high

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 10 June 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:1607

Senior medical staffs conference

GMC's proposals on revalidation are “untenable”

Representatives of the United Kingdom's 32 000 senior hospital doctors believe that the General Medical Council's proposals for revalidation, which are going out for consultation this month (27 May, p 1425), are untenable because they will be unwieldy and expensive and take resources away from patient care.

At the annual senior hospital medical staffs conference last week the dismay over the revalidation proposals was the main reason for the vote of no confidence in the GMC “as currently constituted and functioning” (p 1557).

In his opening speech the chairman of the Central Consultants and Specialists Committee, Dr Peter Hawker, said that revalidation should focus on competence and patient safety. “It should not attempt to provide a police force for the NHS.” He feared that if the GMC's proposals were implemented they would encourage “a more defensive approach to complaints and to critical analysis.” Revalidation might be seen as “a restrictive, potentially intrusive, and threatening mechanism.” He did not reject the idea that doctors must be fit to practise but he wanted an effective mechanism, not one that would fall into disrepute.

The chairman of the CCSC's negotiating subcommittee, Mr Derek Machin, insisted that removal from the register should be through existing GMC procedures; annual appraisals should be satisfactory for the revalidation process.

System must be workable, fair, and transparent

The conference insisted that any revalidation system must pose no threat to registration other than through the fitness to practise procedures; must be based on valid and verifiable evidence; must be workable, fair, and transparent; and not use anonymous information. It believes that these criteria will be met by the CCSC's proposals for revalidation based on appraisal (1 April, p 946).

Dr Robin Arnold (South Western) believed that the debate had become confused. Revalidation was meant to deal with the small number of doctors who fell …

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