28/05/2010

Doctors Slam Revalidation Proposals

Doctors' leaders today called on the General Medical Council (GMC) to 'go back to the drawing board' and rethink the revalidation proposals for all UK doctors.

In its response to the GMC consultation document 'Revalidation: The Way Ahead', the British Medical Association (BMA) said that, as they stand, doctors cannot support the plans.

BMA Chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum is calling on the GMC to provide detailed answers on a number of stumbling blocks, including questions about the funding of the revalidation programme.

"While the BMA agrees with the principle of revalidation we believe the process is seriously undermined by a number of factors that need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

"The BMA will resist any proposals that are overly bureaucratic and cumbersome and that ultimately will take doctors away from treating patients.

"It is essential that any system we have in place is fair for all doctors across the board," he said.

Dr Meldrum added: "The overwhelming majority of doctors are hard-working and spend their professional lives treating and helping patients to the best of their abilities.
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"The BMA is concerned that the proposed system will do very little to weed out underperforming doctors but will add yet another layer of bureaucracy to the doctor's role.

"This does not make sense at a time when doctors are facing increasing pressure to spend more time with their patients. With the NHS facing cuts, this is not the time to spend invaluable resources on forcing doctors to dedicate time to box-ticking and form-filling exercises," he said, outlining the key concerns for the BMA.

These include specialist standards to recertify doctors set by the Royal Colleges - the BMA said many of these are far too complex and need to be simplified and made more realistic.

The BMA also wants to know how much the proposed revalidation will cost, as there are no references to how much the proposals will cost both directly and indirectly?

It also queries the role of the Royal Colleges and asks if it is unacceptable for representatives from the Royal Colleges to sit on revalidation panels and regulate their members and fellow doctors, as the BMA believes there is conflict of interest here.

In conclusion, the response said that the BMA's "confidence in the process is seriously undermined".

Dr Meldrum argued that "the BMA wants revalidation to work for doctors and for patients but for this to happen the system needs to be equitable and fair".

(BMcC/GK)

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