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GPrevalidationMarch 16 2016

Updated guidance on revalidation will help reduce the administrative burden on GPs, the Royal College of General Practitioners has said.

Launching its new guidance, the RCGP said there is now more emphasis on quality rather than quantity to help support GPs personal and professional development. There should also be fewer inconsistencies in interpretation, and recommendations around revalidation have been simplified and streamlined.

In updating the guidance, the RCGP has taken into account responses from more than a thousand GPs who took part in its Revalidation survey in 2015. Over a third (34.5%) mentioned difficulties with the process, claiming it was time-consuming, bureaucratic and added to already burgeoning workloads, said the RCGP.

“GPs told us that some responsible officers (ROs) have been adding layers of detail and complexity that are unhelpful because they make the implementation of appraisal and revalidation guidance more inconsistent. The new Guide is designed to ensure that any areas where there has been a lack of clarity are better understood.

“The RCGP recognises that GPs need to be supported by their College in resisting inappropriate additional bureaucracy and is working with key stakeholders such as the GMC, BMA and RO networks to look at reducing the regulatory burden.”

Over half of respondents (52.7%) thought that the supporting evidence required to attain revalidation properly reflected the quality of patient care that they deliver. However, “many viewed the process simply as a box-ticking exercise, and others raised concerns that the process is too subjective, only assessing the most easy-to-measure factors,” said the RCGP.

As there was confusion over what constitutes continuing professional development, the guidance states that all learning activities can be counted as CPD, whether they arise from quality improvement activities (QIAs) or reflection on significant events, complaints or other forms of feedback. In addition, “One CPD credit = one hour of learning activity demonstrated by a reflective note on lessons learned and any changes made as a result.

“All hours spent on learning activities can be credited, even if nothing new was learned and the activity merely reinforced what was already known. There is no need to produce more than one reflective note for a learning activity that has taken several hours.”

Other points made by the RCGP:

  • Doubling of CPD credits for demonstrating impact will be removed from April 1, and all time and learning demonstrating impact can be credited.
  • There is no need to routinely scan certificates for CPD, although GPs may wish to retain them.
  • Documenting reflection is simplified so that the new guidance recommends GPs provide a few high quality examples that demonstrate how they keep up to date, review what they do, and reflect on their feedback across the whole of their scope of work over the five year cycle.
  • GPs will only need to do a formal GMC-compliant colleague survey to collect feedback once in the revalidation cycle.

The RCGP Council has approved the new guidelines with the proviso that further updates will be undertaken when necessary to reflect feedback from GPs.

Dr Susi Caesar, RCGP Lead for Revalidation, said: “Revalidation is about ensuring that all doctors, including GPs, are up to date and fit to practise. Appraisal has the best of intentions for improving quality in general practice and the care that GPs can deliver to patients – but it is obvious from the survey results that members were finding the process burdensome at a time when they are already under intense resource and workforce pressures.

“The changes that have been made to our guidance on supporting information focus on reducing confusion, reducing bureaucracy, and ultimately reducing workload for GPs when they are under such intense pressure with increasing patient demand.”

Links:

RCGP announcement

RCGP updated guidance

RCGP summary of new guidance

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