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Holistic approach to revalidation

Collect wide-ranging evidence for revalidation, by Professional Ruth Chambers.

While the launch of revalidation has been postponed, you will still be expected to show, going back over a few years, that you are fit to practise. So evidence you collect for annual appraisals now about your continuing professional development (CPD) and clinical practice, will be part of your future portfolio.

Stage 1: Balanced portfolio
One of the most important parts of your revalidation portfolio will be how balanced it is - reflecting the range of work you do - and how comprehensive your CPD has been. A good number and range of clinical audits and personal reflections will comprise the core information about the quality of your own work.

Action: You will need to include others' perspectives of the quality of your work. This might be patients' comments or colleagues' feedback. Also, you will need an organisational view of the quality of your work.

Stage 2: Different views
It is difficult to differentiate an individual GP's practice from that of their medical and nurse colleagues if they are a GP partner or salaried doctor in a regular post. The outcome measures in the quality framework for instance, depend on all the team's contributions.

Of course, if there is poor practice, a single-handed GP or GP partner does have responsibility to identify the cause and resolve it even if another team member is at fault.

Action: When you include a record of the practice teams performance in your appraisal portfolio, get into the habit of picking out your specific contributions and focusing on patients who consulted you.

You might reflect on patient complaints, significant event audits, sample clinical cases or survey or teaching and training events and describe the changes made to update your practice or ensure that adverse events do not recur.

A GP locum may have difficulty presenting evidence of the quality of their work. Those undertaking long term stints or who often work in the same practices will be able to compare their work with colleagues in those practice teams.

Stage 3: Organisation
Consider your primary care organisation's (PCO's) perspective of the quality of your work too.

Action: You could undertake and include an audit that your PCO would like the GPs on its performers list to prioritise. This might be about the extent to which your prescribing or clinical practice adheres to local protocols or national guidance or maybe in relation to community infection rates.

Stage 4: Relicensing
You will want to prepare and maintain a single portfolio of evidence about the extent and quality of your CPD and professional practice.

Action: The nature of that evidence needs to show that you are a competent GP who keeps up to date, and practises in a consistently high quality, professional way to fulfil what will be required for your annual appraisals and to 'pass' recertification and relicensing.

- Professor Chambers is a GP and professor of health development at Staffordshire University

Book Offer
GPs can buy 'Revalidation: Prepare now and get it right' by R Chambers, G Wakley and P Bright published by Radcliffe Publishing for £15.96 (full price £19.95) plus p&p by calling (01235) 528820 and quoting GP DISCOUNT.

Or, if buying online at www.radcliffe-oxford.com, key in GP DISCOUNT when prompted to pay.

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