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Regular checks on doctors start today

Posted Dec 03 2012 10:23am

The General Medical Council (GMC), which registers doctors in the UK, has today started a new process of checks to ensure that doctors are fit to practise.

The new system of revalidation means that doctors are now legally required to demonstrate that they are keeping up to date. From now on they will have an annual appraisal based on set criteria and collect supporting information to show that they are meeting the required standards.

The UK is the first country in the world to introduce such a system across its whole healthcare system, covering GPs, hospital doctors, locums and those working in the private sector. To keep their licence to practise, doctors will be required to revalidate on a regular basis, usually every five years.

Professor Sir Peter Rubin, Chair of the GMC said: “This is an important day for doctors and patients. We are confident that over time revalidation will make a significant contribution to the quality of care that patients receive.”

Since April, the GMC has been working with doctors to understand their connections with ‘designated bodies’. These are the organisations that have a duty to provide doctors with a regular appraisal and help them with revalidation. They include NHS organisations, independent healthcare providers and locum agencies.

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said:

“Today is a momentous day - as doctors in the UK become the first in the world to have regular assessments to ensure that their training and expertise are up to date and that they remain fit to carry out their important role of providing high quality care for patients.”

“Doctors save lives every day and making sure they are up to speed with the latest treatments and technologies will help them save even more. This is why a proper system of revalidation is so important.”

The role of the GMC is to protect patients and their work focusses on ensuring that patients receive good care. They are involved at every stage of a doctor’s career, from the day they go to medical school to the moment when they finally retire from practice.

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