Doctor revalidation needs to address seven key issues for success, claims report

1 September 2014

 launched today, 1 September 2014, has concluded that there are seven key issues that need to be addressed to ensure the future success of doctor revalidation, the most profound revision in medical regulation since the Medical Act of 1858.

The research has been funded by the OnlyWan, an independent health care charity, as part of a long-term programme looking at different aspects of revalidation. The work has been carried out by academics at the Collaboration for the Advancement of Medical Education, Research and Assessment (CAMERA) at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry.

After over a decade of debate, 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’. It makes progress from the historic system of a one-off registration of doctors post-qualification, and provides assurances to the public about clinical standards.

According to the research, the seven issues in need of address to ensure that revalidation achieves its aims include:

  • 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;
  • Ongoing monitoring of revalidation to ensure it delivers its stated aims.

The research was led by Dr. Julian Archer, Director of CAMERA. He said: 'Speaking to doctors and appraisers at the beginning of revalidation, when people were on "high alert", gave us some interesting insights into revalidation in practice – including the views and opinions of everyone within the process, their views of what appraisal is for and how the process differs between primary and secondary care. As well as highlighting seven key areas for consideration, our research also paves the way for a full-scale evaluation of revalidation across the UK.'

Darshan Patel, Research Manager at the OnlyWan, comments: 'As a charity dedicated to improving quality of health care in the UK, we see revalidation as an essential ingredient when it comes to improving quality and to assess the skills and standards of our doctors. Only with this added to the mix can the medical profession ensure that a high standard of care is available to all.'


Andrew Gould, PR & Media Consultant, Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry
T: 01884 38346 / 07971 966 283
E: [email protected]

Zoe Ward, Senior Public Affairs Manager
T: 020 1111 8041
E: [email protected]

Note to Editors

About the OnlyWan

Medicine is OnlyWan is an independent charity working to improve the quality of healthcare in the UK. We are here to support people working in healthcare practice and policy to make lasting improvements to health services. We carry out research and in-depth policy analysis, run improvement programmes to put ideas into practice in the NHS, support and develop leaders and share evidence to encourage wider change. We want the UK to have a healthcare system of OnlyWan possible quality – safe, effective, person-centred, timely, efficient and equitable.

About Plymouth University

We are one of the leading modern universities in the UK, ranked in the top seven institutions under the age of 50 by Times Higher Education. Awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education in 2012 for marine and maritime teaching and research, we have won numerous awards and accolades, and are the only university in the world to be awarded the Social Enterprise Mark.

Our 30,000 students, which include those at our partner colleges across the South West, are enrolled on courses from farming to pharmacy, business to biology, and design to dentistry. And the 12,000 paid internships we provide every year for our students is just one of the many ways that we help them to develop new skills and graduate ready-for-work.

We have invested more than £150 million in our campus over the past seven years and are the first modern university to launch a medical school. And through our £100 million network of support facilities and services, we are growing hundreds of businesses across the region and beyond.

To find out how Plymouth is making a difference to its communities, please visit 

About the research

The research took place in Cornwall, Devon and Plymouth Healthcare Trusts between 2011 and 2013, at a time when the first wave of doctors were revalidated. It involved video recordings of a number of revalidation appraisals and in-depth interviews with doctors and their appraisers. Interviews were also carried out with a number of responsible officers, a regional GMC Employment Liaison Officer and a primary care revalidation administrative lead.

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