Poll: Checks will not tackle incompetent doctors

A survey has found that only around one in five doctors believe that checks aimed at identifying poor-performing colleagues are effective. A large majority also agreed that 'there are certain doctors that I would not want to treat friends and family'

Doctors 'see revalidation as an administrative burden'

The head of the medical website doctors.net.uk, which conducted the survey, has said that the results show that many doctors see revalidation as an "administrative burden".

GPs and hospital doctors seek to uphold the highest possible standards in care, and their willingness to be totally frank about variations in quality demonstrates how keen they are to see continual monitoring and improvement.

However, while revalidation should help to address such concerns, there is widespread scepticism about its effectiveness.

Many hard-pressed doctors view it as yet another administrative burden. They do not see it as a safety net for identifying any doctors who are not fit to practise or as a benchmark for ensuring that all patients receive the highest possible levels of care and treatment.

– Dr Tim Ringrose, chief executive, doctors.net.uk

What is 'revalidation' and how does it work?

Revalidation is the current system used to check that licenced doctors are fit for the job.

It requires doctors to demonstrate on a regular basis - usually every five years - that they are up-to-date through appraisals with their employer.

Members of the public can give feed-back in patient questionnaires, which are taken into account in these appraisals.

Revalidation started in December 2012 and the majority of licensed doctors are expected to be revalidated by March 2016.

Advertisement

Main findings of a survey of more than 5,600 doctors

Out of some 4,600 hospital doctors:

  • 53% disagreed that the current system of checks (known as revalidation) would help identify and deal with unfit doctors (22% agreed)
  • 86% agreed there are variations in care and that "there are certain doctors that I would not want to treat friends and family" (3% disagreed)
  • 38% said they did not agree that the benefits of revalidation would outweigh the admin time required for the process (18% agreed)

Out of some 1,000 GPs:

  • 60% disagreed that revalidation would work (16% agreed)
  • 67% agreed that there are certain doctors they would not want to treat friends and family (6% disagreed)
  • 63% did not agree that the benefits of revalidation would outweigh the extra admin (15% agreed)

Survey: Doctors have little faith in system of checks

Survey: Doctors have little faith in system of checks

A survey of more than 5,600 doctors in the UK has found that only around one in five believe the current system of checks on incompetent colleagues, known as revalidation, is fit for purpose.

More: What is 'revalidation' and how does it work?

Only around one in five doctors have faith in the current system of checks
Only around one in five doctors have faith in the current system of checks, the survey found Credit: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

More than 80% of hospital doctors and 67% of GPs also pointed to variations in care, saying there are certain doctors they would not want to treat their friends and family.

The survey, by doctors.net.uk for the Press Association, was carried out among more than 4,600 hospital doctors and a further 1,000 GPs.

It was timed to coincide with the anniversary on Monday of the death of Harold Shipman, the doctor who killed between 215 and 260 people over a 23-year period.