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GMC updates guidance on appraisal and revalidation

New guidance clarifies requirements on supporting evidence and focuses on quality rather than quantity

Louise Prime

Wednesday, 02 May 2018

The General Medical Council (GMC) has updated its guidance on providing supporting information for appraisal and revalidation, in response to many doctors saying they found the processes were not as simple and straightforward as they could have been. The NHS Confederation welcomed the GMC’s update, which clarifies the requirements and focuses on quality rather than quantity, and said it should make appraisals and revalidation quicker and more streamlined for doctors.

The GMC wrote yesterday to all UK-registered doctors about the changes to its guidance on collating information necessary for appraisals and revalidation. Doctors should collect six types of information ready for discussion at appraisals, covering: continuing professional development, quality improvement activity, significant events, feedback from colleagues, feedback from patients, and complaints and compliments.

The regulator said research published last year revealed that some doctors had found its requirements unclear; and a review recommended that the GMC should help to address the issue by updating its guidance on supporting information, in particular to clarify what is mandatory for appraisal and revalidation, and how that might differ from additional requirements of employers, royal colleges or faculties.

The GMC did so, and its newly updated guidance:

  • provides information on the balance between quality and quantity of supporting information that a doctor must collect, but explains that the GMC does not set a minimum or maximum amount
  • reinforces the importance of doctors who have multiple roles gathering information that covers the whole of their practice
  • emphasises that appraisals and revalidation are not ‘pass or fail’ exercises, but should be developmental
  • provides more information on collecting feedback from colleagues.
The GMC’s director of registration and revalidation Una Lane said it had worked with a range of doctors, appraisers and healthcare organisations in updating the guidance, which has also been redesigned to make it easier and quicker for doctors to find the information they need. She said: “Most doctors are now collecting the supporting information that revalidation requires, but for many the processes for doing so are not as simple and straightforward as they could be.

“Employers have a major role to play to address this, and too often there remains confusion between the GMC’s requirements and those of employers or royal colleges. Our updated guidance will help doctors by making our requirements clearer, with a focus on quality rather than quantity.”

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation responded: “This guidance is good news for doctors and patients. It should make appraisals and revalidation quicker and more streamlined for doctors, freeing them up to do what they signed up to do – providing good patient care. Patients will have renewed confidence in the capability and professionalism of the people looking after them.”

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