Revalidation taking “longer than expected”

DOCTORS are spending more time on revalidation than had originally been expected, an official NHS report has revealed.

It found doctors typically spent between 12 and 15 hours preparing for and completing their appraisal as part of the revalidation process – up to six hours more than original estimates.

It also found that revalidation was “not universally supported” with some doctors saying it is “not yet relevant to their needs”.

The findings were revealed in a report by the NHS Revalidation Support Team (RST) looking at the impact of revalidation one year after implementation.

The Early Benefits and Impact of Medical Revalidation analysed findings of 3,500 survey responses from doctors, appraisers, responsible officers and designated bodies in 2013 and 2014.

Previous pilot tests carried out by the RST estimated doctors would spend around nine hours on appraisal activity.

But the new report stated: “The highest proportion of doctors who responded to each question spent more than eight hours collecting supporting information, between two to four hours completing forms, one to two hours in the appraisal discussion and 0-1 hours completing post-appraisal forms.

“These results show that the main demand on their time is the preparation for appraisal.”

The report also highlighted a number of positives, concluding that revalidation is “delivering value” with appraisal rates increasing from 63 per cent to 76 per cent between March 2011 and March 2013.

The report also suggests concerns about a doctor’s practice are being identified at an earlier stage and there is “strong support” from doctors, appraisers and responsible officers for medical appraisal, a key element of revalidation.

Health minister Dr Dan Poulter said: “We know there is more for hospitals to do in supporting staff with their annual appraisals, but it is good to see that the quality and frequency of appraisals is increasing.”

Ralph Critchley, Director of Research and Quality Improvement at the RST said it was still “early days” for revalidation.

“[W]e have identified a number of recommendations which will help improve the process going forward,” he said. “This will be important in ensuring revalidation develops in the right way and contributes to continuing public confidence in the medical profession.”

Read the full report here