New revalidation guidance will help reduce administrative workload for GPs and put emphasis on quality

Publication date: 15 March 2016

RCGP updated guidance will help reduce administrative burden for GPs, and support their personal and professional development

Updated guidelines on supporting information for appraisal and revalidation that aim to reduce the overall administrative burden for GPs and to put more emphasis on the quality than quantity, are published by the Royal College of General Practitioners today.

Revalidation is the remit of the General Medical Council, but the RCGP have developed this guidance to support GPs in their personal and professional development.

The College wants to ensure that the revalidation process is viewed within the context of patient safety and improving the quality of patient care not as another tick-box exercise.

The guidance has been adapted, based on feedback from College members, so that it does not add to the pressures they face and also protects their time for patient care.

More than 1000 GPs responded to the 2015 RCGP revalidation survey, with over a third (34.65%) mentioning difficulties with the process, claiming it was time-consuming, bureaucratic and added to already burgeoning workloads.

The survey also found that 52.73% 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.

Addressing this, 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 new guidelines were passed by RCGP Council with the understanding that further updates would be undertaken in due course to take 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.

“The changes that have been made to our guidance on supporting information focus on reducing confusion, reducing bureaucracy, and ultimately reducing workload for GPs when they are under such intense pressure with increasing patient demand.

“We will continue to work with the GMC and update our resources, including the RCGP Guide to Supporting Information for Appraisal and Revalidation, in order to make the processes involved with revalidation as supportive and worthwhile as possible for GPs, while at the same time ensuring our patients are safe.”

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633/7410
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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