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Wake-up call over revalidation

NHS medical director warns employers to grip the issues on revalidation

Louise Prime

Friday, 14 October 2011

Health service organisations in England have been issued with a “wake-up call” on revalidation, warns the General Medical Council as the latest figures show patchy progress across the NHS.

Today’s review of clinical governance and appraisal in preparation for revalidation of doctors in England, produced by the NHS Revalidation Support Team, shows that although there has been some progress in clinical governance, there are many areas for future improvement.

Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS medical director, warned: “Good clinical governance and appraisal are the bedrock of high quality care and CQC would expect to see that organisations have appropriate systems in place to support these in order to ensure people receive care that is safe and meets their needs.

“While good progress has been made in some areas, all boards in the health sector must grip the issues and make rapid progress … doctors need to get the right development and assessment, which they are entitled to as part of their contracts.”

Designated bodies – organisations that employ or contract doctors – were asked to complete an organisational readiness self-assessment (ORSA) of their readiness for revalidation, and 507 of them (90%) complied. The report compiled from their responses, Review of integrated clinical governance in the context of medical revalidation, shows that:

  • 97.8% of designated bodies had appointed a responsible officer, and most (87.8%) are being supported in the role by the designated body
  • 73.7% of doctors had completed an appraisal between 1 April 2010 and 31 March 2011
  • 51.7% of designated bodies had a medical appraisal policy that met the requirements of the Responsible Officer Regulations 2010
  • 87.8% of appraisers had received appraiser training
  • 83.2% have a process for investigating concerns about a doctors’ practice
  • 30.2% had a policy in place for re-skilling rehabilitation, remediation and targeted support
  • 67.7% of responsible officers were satisfied that their organisation is providing sufficient financial resource to support revalidation

Niall Dickson, GMC chief executive, said: “This report is a wake up call to health service organisations in England.

“They must put in place the right systems for monitoring and supporting clinical practice. This is needed for revalidation but more fundamentally it is needed to ensure high quality, safe care. The report shows there is clearly more to do in some areas, although we know from speaking to medical directors and responsible officers that there is momentum and significant progress has been made even since this review was carried out.

“We expect to see further progress over the coming months and we believe revalidation is already driving improvement in clinical governance and appraisal which will benefit doctors and contribute to safer, better care for patients.”

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