18th January 2013

There are 220,000 doctors in the UK and until December last none were subjected to any compulsory assessment of their performance unless specific complaints were raised. Every practicing Doctor is now subject to a revalidation assessment.

As one who works in a much regulated profession this is a step that I think has been long overdue. There will be those out there who take the view with reports of reduced resources compromising patient care that additional burdens on clinicians to comply with regulation and assessment will simply add to the problem. Far from it I say.

Working on behalf of those in our society who have been unfortunate enough to suffer injury at the hands of clinicians I have second hand experience of the problems that can arise in the provision of patient care and the majority of these patients are let down by a lack of understanding of the appropriate responsible care to be provided.

“I think [the new regulations] has been long overdue”

Of course the majority of Clinicians are competent and provide excellent care but the new system of revalidation should, if administered in the correct manner, raise awareness within the profession of those individuals who do not possess the necessary skills and knowledge to safely provide patient care in today's society. Up to this point patient concerns were only ever raised following adverse incidents in the form of complaints to the NHS or claims being brought and it has often been questioned whether such complaints even if upheld bring about change for the better.

Under the new validation scheme patients will have a voice and the NHS will be required to consult with patients over the performance of individuals and take patient feedback into account when clinicians are due to be revalidated. This must be good news in the long run.

It remains to be seen whether the new system will have an impact on the number of adverse incidents within our NHS and perhaps much will depend on how effective the participation of all those involved in the process is but it is not before time.