Revalidation of Doctors - Health Committee Contents

Written evidence from the Medical Protection Society (REV 11)


1.  The government must ensure that the public has a proper understanding and realistic expectations of the purpose of revalidation.

2.  The process of revalidation must be accessible to all doctors who wish to revalidate, regardless of their portfolio of practice.

3.  The costs of remediation should be borne centrally to reflect the benefit that it will bring to the wider public.


1.  The Medical Protection Society (MPS) is the leading provider of comprehensive professional indemnity and expert advice to more than 270,000 doctors, dentists and other health professionals around the world. We have over 100 years' experience of the medicolegal environment and operate in 40 countries around the world. In the United Kingdom we have around 170,000 doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals in membership comprising around 50% of all doctors and 70% of all dentists.

2.  As a mutual, not-for-profit organisation we offer members help, on a discretionary basis, with legal and ethical problems that arise from their professional practice. This includes clinical negligence claims, disciplinary and professional regulatory investigations, inquests, complaints and general ethical and professional advice.

3.  MPS welcomes the commitment from the GMC to simplify and streamline the proposals for revalidation[2]. However although we support the principles behind revalidation, we have concerns that as currently drafted, our members may face issues in relation to public expectations, fairness and remediation. These are outlined below.


Realistic expectations

4.  MPS would like the government to ensure that the public has realistic expectations about the purpose of revalidation. Although it may help to identify poorly performing doctors at an earlier stage, it cannot eliminate poor practice or stop wilful criminal behaviour in doctors such as Harold Shipman.

5.  It must be remembered that although revalidation will be an important and valuable tool, it will be just one of several measures that should be in place to demonstrate to patients and the public that doctors are keeping their knowledge and skills up to date and are fit to practise


6.  MPS believes the process of revalidation must be accessible to all doctors who wish to revalidate, whilst at the same time being robust and not putting excessive burdens on doctors or employers.

7.  It will be absolutely essential to pilot revalidation in a wide range of specialties, both clinical and non-clinical, to ensure that the process is fit for purpose, achievable and sufficiently flexible to accommodate the wide range of practice undertaken by licensed doctors in the twenty-first century. There currently appears to be a wide range of differing levels of detail in the specialty specific frameworks produced by the Royal Colleges.


8.  Revalidation will identify doctors in need of some level of remediation and it is very important that the resource implications are properly recognised. MPS welcomes the recognition that the costs of good clinical governance, including remediation, should be seen in the light of their associated benefits to patients and the public, doctors and employers. In order to reflect this, we strongly believe that the costs of remediation should be borne centrally.

9.  We believe that all doctors should be provided with the framework to support remediation. In particular, thought must be given to how doctors working as locums can access remediation in the same way as doctors in regular employment.

November 2010

2   GMC Revalidation: A Statement of Intent (October 2010). Back

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