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Friday 28th October 2016

Regular checks on doctors' skills to start

19th October 2012

The UK’s 220,000 doctors will begin having regular checks on their skills from December.


Under what is being seen as the biggest shake-up in medical regulation for more than 150 years, doctors will have an annual appraisal with a decision taken every five years on whether they are fit to continue working.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the initiative, which will see majority of first round checks completed by April 2016, is about addressing deficiencies in skills.

Those doctors that do not meet the required standard will be prevented from practising by the General Medical Council (GMC).

While acknowledging that most doctors do “a brilliant job” there remain serious concerns with 0.7%, which Mr Hunt believes is a significant number.

There are currently no mandatory checks on the performance of doctors, though some places do have annual appraisals.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said the system should help improve quality, but he admitted the health industry had been “slow to recognise” the importance of such checks.

The new procedures have been introduced after talks between the government, GMC and the British Medical Association (BMA), which supports the revalidation.

Dr Mark Porter, chair of the BMA’s Council, said: “It is important to recognise, that while revalidation will undoubtedly enhance the rigorous testing that doctors undergo, clinicians are already offering patients a very high quality service and robust systems are currently in place to deal with any concerns.”

The NHS Employers organisation described the move as a “very positive step forward” which should "herald greater patient safety and build confidence".


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