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General Medical Council to seek patients' views of revalidation of doctors

26 June, 2000

Patients are being asked to air their views about plans to introduce a revalidation scheme by the General Medical Council (GMC).

Under the proposals every UK doctor would have to be assessed every five years to check if they are fit to continue in practice.

GMC President Sir Donald Irvine said, "We need to hear the views of those it will affect; doctors, patients and all other stakeholders." He added, "It will deliver a much more effective mechanism for detecting poor performance before patients are harmed and will give the vast majority of doctors who are doing an excellent job the opportunity to demonstrate this publicly to their patients."

Doctors would have an annual appraisal and will be assessed by a team of doctors every five years to ensure their skills have been maintained.

Sir Donald said how, "the assessment will be made on what individual doctors do, so it will be very much tailored to their own practice."

The scheme has raised concern amongst some doctors who fear it will cause increased stress, with time away from patients and the financial cost of running such a scheme.

The BMA (British Medical Association) said it was important doctors showed they were fit to be in practice. Dr Ian Bogle, its chairman said, "patients have the right to know that every doctor on the medical register is professionally up-to-date, competent and safe."

The proposals are out for consultation until 25 September. The hope is that lost confidence in the GMC by the public and professionals can be regained, following a period of criticism over the past year with a number of high profile cases.