Revalidation in Practice

Shaping the future development of revalidation

  • Original research funded by the Health Foundation.
  • Followed on from our What is Revalidation? In Policy’ work.
  • Was an 18-month primary research study that aimed to understand and assess the impact of revalidation on clinicians and clinical practice.
  • Conducted by Dr Julian Archer at the University of Plymouth.

Revalidation for doctors was introduced by the General Medical Council (GMC) in the UK in December 2012 as a requirement for all registered doctors to demonstrate on regular basis that they are ‘up to date and fit to practice’. If revalidation is to become a meaningful activity, it is vital that the strengths are built upon and the weaknesses and negatives are quickly addressed through policy changes. Using activity theory and discourse analysis, the research identified the practical consequences of revalidation and to assess the potential positive and negative impacts of implementation.

Revalidation is seen as a reasonable, logical and even economical addition to appraisals but, with some unintended consequences. Most notably there is a concern that revalidation, as a regulatory mechanism, will mean that doctors begin to view appraisals as a tick-box exercise or bureaucratic hurdle rather than a professional reflection of their clinical practice. The research also identified seven key issues in need of address to ensure that revalidation achieves its aims, these are:

  • Consistency in the appraisal process via a system of ongoing independent evaluation;
  • Ensuring revalidation is neither an appraisal 'tick box', nor unwieldy and bureaucratic;
  • More rigorous checks on evidence to help the appraiser and responsible officer with their judgements;
  • The introduction of systems to help doctors collate the evidence needed for the revalidation appraisal;
  • A clearer understanding of how inclusive patient feedback should be built into an appraisal as supporting evidence;
  • Clarification of remediation processes, including financial implications for NHS trusts and individual doctors’ and;
  • On-going monitoring of revalidation to ensure it delivers its stated aims.

Contact details

For more information about this project, please contact Darshan Patel, Research Manager and Dr Julian Archer, University of Plymouth

Further reading

Research project

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