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07-05-2012 | Article

Nuts and bolts of revalidation

As time moves on, we learn more about what we are expected to do during the revalidation process. Like all new journeys, there is a learning curve and we tend to gain confidence as we move further along the process. For guidance I recommend this helpful document, which is not too long and quite readable (click here).

One aspect of revalidation that may be new to some of us (GP registrars have been doing this for a while) is gathering evidence on what others think about us. The two groups who can provide this evidence are colleagues and patients. I am sure many of us will be apprehensive to discover what people actually think of us. On another level, we can channel this very important feedback into our learning process, which can hopefully improve our professional output and ability.

Using feedback from other people can produce some interesting problems, highlighted in a recent Univadis GP news article (click here). For example, how are recipients selected when handing out feedback questionnaires? The article describes GPs' fears that "colleagues may be insufficiently familiar with a doctor's clinical practice to give accurate feedback, that doctors may - albeit unintentionally - select colleagues who are more likely to give favourable feedback, or that colleagues may not complete the forms honestly for fear of damaging working relations."

Also, what happens if evidence in the documentation appears that is unflattering and, even worse, could be used against the doctor? This is and important possibility that should be explored openly and honestly, and be debated and discussed. Remember, however, that doctors should act with honesty and a high degree of probity and openness.

We should have nothing to hide. If there are "warts" in our appraisal documentation then we should be made aware of them and look at trying to improve the deficiencies. That is the sign of a good doctor; and openness, truthfulness and transparency should be the mark of an appraisal. We should be doing nothing less.


Dr Harry Brown, editor-in-chief Univadis

By Dr Harry Brown