Revalidation guidance aims to reduce administrative burden

NEW updated guidelines to assist GPs with appraisal and revalidation and reduce the administrative burden have been published by the Royal College of General Practitioners.

Revalidation is the remit of the General Medical Council but the RCGP have developed this guidance to ensure that the process is viewed within the context of patient safety and improving the quality of patient care, not as another tick-box exercise.

The RCGP says the updated guidance is based on feedback from College members so not to add to the pressures they face and divert time from patient care.

More than 1000 GPs responded to a 2015 RCGP revalidation survey, with over a third (34.6 per cent) mentioning difficulties with the process, claiming it was time-consuming, bureaucratic and added to already burgeoning workloads.

The survey also found that 52.7 per cent of GPs did not think the supporting evidence required to attain revalidation properly reflected the quality of patient care that they deliver. 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.

One change to the new guidance is a move away from a one-size-fits-all process of "doubling" CPD credits for demonstrating impact, to a more streamlined and proportionate approach that values quality over quantity and rewards all the time spent on activities with impact.

This new system equates one CPD credit to one hour of learning activity, verified by a reflective note on lessons learned and changes made. There is no expectation that this reflection is carried out for all learning, just the most significant and best examples.

The College believes that this approach will mean that the time GPs spend on CPD and reflection will be more appropriately acknowledged.

The RCGP says that further updates will be undertaken in due course, taking into account the full breadth of feedback from respondents to the College’s revalidation survey and other feedback, particularly around reducing the administrative burdens facing GPs and maintaining patient safety.

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 College has listened to the feedback from GPs, and we hope the latest version of our guidance will help to increase the dissemination of best practice while reducing the burden of documentation required."