The General Medical Council (GMC) has welcomed support from the Patients Association for the introduction of the revalidation of doctors later this year.
Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, outlined her support for revalidation in a letter to Andrew Lansley, the Secretary of State for Health.
She stated that patients and the wider public agree that doctors should always be able to show that they are fully up to date and fit to practise and revalidation must remain a priority.
The letter said: 'Revalidation is not rocket science. The central pillar of revalidation is the regular collection of evidence of a doctor’s clinical performance – and patients’ experience of such performance – and an annual appraisal of that performance against national standards.
'It is difficult for lay people to imagine, far less understand, how the NHS can claim to be functioning effectively without such basic operational information.'
Speaking after the letter was issued, Ms Murphy said: ‘Patient confidence and trust in their doctor is essential. Without it, patient care suffers immeasurably. Revalidation is a key tool in ensuring that patients can have full confidence in their doctor’s abilities and expertise.
‘Many patients think that doctors’ skills and abilities are already reviewed and updated. Revalidation is not about penalising doctors, it is about ensuring that doctors are fit to practise and ready to provide the highest quality care throughout their careers.
‘We cannot afford to continue stalling, now is not the time for further delay. It has been 13 years since revalidation was first suggested and we have waited long enough. We appreciate the need for this to be implemented correctly, however further delays will only put at risk patient trust in doctors which is so fundamental to effective patient care.’
Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the GMC, said: ‘We welcome the support of the Patients Association.
'Most patients think doctors are already checked for their competence and patient organisations are rightly calling for no further delay. The new system will make sure that every doctor in the UK can demonstrate they are competent and up to date - it will also mean that their employers have to provide them with the support and information they need to practise safely.
'The good news is that health organisations across the UK are tightening up their arrangements for overseeing and supporting doctors. This should improve patient safety and provide more assurance to patients that the doctor treating them is a good doctor. We have been talking about this reform for more than ten years - now we need to get on with it.'
Notes to Editor:
Katherine Murphy’s letter can be found here: http://patients-association.com/Portals/0/Public/Files/Research%20Publications/120416%20Andrew%20Lansley.docx
Further information on revalidation can be found here: http://www.gmc-uk.org/doctors/revalidation.asp
For further information please contact the Patients Association on 02084239111 or on 07779004898 if outside of the hours.