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Revalidation: Part Six - Top 20 tips on maintaining trust and keeping healthy

It is important to keep a positive attitude and look after your status and your health.

1. Don't be complacent about your professional status. In today's world of accountability and quality assurance, the overseeing of doctors' performance by the GMC, RCGP or NHS has to be a good thing.

2. Work with change, rather than fighting against it. The NHS is constantly evolving, so your role will never remain static.

3. Think of revalidation as a catalyst for quality improvement rather than viewing it as a disruptive, bureaucratic process.

4. Keep it in perspective and in context, thinking laterally about ways to overcome any problems you encounter.

5. Remember that the process is a five-year cycle; you can not cover everything in a year.

6. Note that the person who facilitates your multi-source feedback (MSF) surveys has a key role in helping you and others to reflect on the feedback. Use apparent criticism to make positive changes.

7. Retain a creative spark, putting your innovative ideas into practice, while evaluating any new service or approach to ensure it is safe and effective.

8. Remember that any evaluation requires a 'before' stage and an 'after' stage in order for you to be able to compare the change with the previous baseline.

9. Demonstrate how a local health need has been prioritised in your practice - for example, the identification and subsequent management of patients with alcohol disorder - and note the improvements you have made.

10. Listen to your patients, studying satisfaction surveys and making changes/organising CPD accordingly. For example, do you need to provide patients with a greater range of (informed) choices about their clinical management?

11. Also gain (and act on) feedback by liaising regularly with your patient participation group.

12. If you are part-time, assess the minimum number of GP sessions you should work to be safe and fit to practise. It is unlikely to be one session a week: probably you need to do at least three or four half-days a week.

13. Maintain patient confidentiality, which is an essential component of the trust that exists between you, as a GP, and the patient. Audit how confidentiality is maintained with vulnerable patients, for example, teenagers or older people with memory problems.

14. Keep careful records if you prescribe unlicensed drugs.

15. Guard against fraud by patients or any of the practice team. For example, put in place systems to prevent staff ordering prescriptions for themselves in the name of a patient.

16. Reflect on the things you like about being a GP (for example, your relative autonomy or working as part of a team) and make an effort to appreciate these elements. This will help you put up with any niggles more readily.

17. Reflect on the things you dislike about being a GP or your particular job. Discuss these with a peer or friend and plan to minimise the negative aspects of your role and to spot upcoming opportunities.

18. Remember that job satisfaction protects you from feeling stressed by work.

19. Pay attention to your own health so that you remain fit to do your job: consider your lifestyle, bearing in mind the advice you would give to a patient in your place. Don't deny or self-treat health problems but seek medical help yourself as appropriate.

20. Monitor your work-life balance and take action if you are working too hard. You cannot practise in a consistently safe way if you are overtired or stressed.

  • Professor Chambers is honorary professor at Staffordshire University and a GP in Stoke-on-Trent

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