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Seize the opportunity

Seize the opportunity

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The new health white paper proposes to place GPs at the very centre of all healthcare in England. But for all GPs across the UK, revalidation remains arguably the biggest challenge that
general practice has ever faced, and one that all GPs, and members of the primary healthcare team, should support. Before us is an unprecedented opportunity to transform professional development for GPs and – most importantly of all – raise standards of patient care.

The new health white paper proposes to place GPs at the very centre of all healthcare in England. But for all GPs across the UK, revalidation remains arguably the biggest challenge that
general practice has ever faced, and one that all GPs, and members of the primary healthcare team, should support. Before us is an unprecedented opportunity to transform professional development for GPs and – most importantly of all – raise standards of patient care.

The Royal College of GPs (RCGP) understands the unease that many GPs across the UK feel about the revalidation process; far-reaching change is not always easy. But the RCGP is working hard to ensure that all GPs are prepared for revalidation: we have completed, and continue to undertake, a number of pilot projects, to ensure that the evidence collection process for revalidation is workable for GPs, whatever their circumstance.

We are making it a priority to ensure that extensive resources and documentation are available to doctors to prepare them for revalidation, as well as ensuring that the support required will be there as and when it is needed. Our Guide to Revalidation, currently in its fourth incarnation, is an evolving document that
aims to provide up-to-date, comprehensive guidance to GPs as revalidation approaches.

The most crucial thing is that doctors do not view revalidation as a punishment. The process is a positive step to ensuring that our agreed professional standards are met and maintained, and revalidation will create an environment of support and development for GPs, wherever they are working.

We need to move away from the idea that revalidation is a witchhunting mechanism designed to root out dangerous
doctors. I firmly believe that revalidation is about
professional development, and maintaining clinical standards.

This cyclical system of appraisal and evaluation will support doctors, encourage improvement where it is needed, and rectify the problem faced by some GPs who are currently unsupported by their primary care organisation.

We will need to develop a similar system for those in the private sector. Early intervention is key to keeping good, skilled doctors, who are experiencing difficulties, in the health system, and regular appraisal will highlight problems early enough to offer practitioners the help and guidance they need.

GPs will also need the support of their primary care teams. Revalidation is an enormous undertaking but we must all work together to ensure that the process brings benefits to general practice and, most importantly, to patient care.

It is incredibly important that all doctors get behind revalidation. Together we can ensure that patients everywhere receive the highquality care they deserve.

Professor Steve Field
Chairman of Council
Royal College of GPs

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