Revalidation: The early experiences and views of responsible officers from London

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This paper summarises the results of a small research study designed to capture the experiences of and reflections on revalidation of responsible officers (ROs) in London. Fifty-three responsible officers took part in an online survey and twenty of these ROs took part in in-depth interviews.

The results provide a snapshot of what the implementation of revalidation has meant for the new ROs six months in. The paper also draws some conclusions on what is currently aiding successful implementation, which can be drawn on by ROs, doctors, boards and senior leaders across the country to prepare for the second year of revalidation.

Key findings

  • Twenty-two survey respondents were broadly positive about their experiences of the first few months of revalidation, five were negative and the rest reserved judgement.
  • In organisations where boards or leaders prioritise revalidation – by investing in systems, resources and individuals – the process runs smoothly and is seen as valuable.
  • Almost half the ROs in the survey had raised no performance concerns; the concerns identified by the remaining ROs included issues around skills, attitudes, probity and health.

Policy implications

  • Organisations need to invest in ways to capture patient feedback and experience if the quality of patient experience, care and outcomes are to be placed at the centre of revalidation.
  • ROs need the support of the NHS Revalidation Support Team, the General Medical Council and the human resources department in their own organisations to ensure that the revalidation process works effectively.
  • Revalidation is a significant management task – ROs need protected time to carry out the process effectively.

More on revalidation


Dr Umesh Prabhu

Medical Director,
Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh FT
Comment date
21 December 2013
It amazes me to see everyone focusing on revalidation. Revalidation must be simple if the Trusts and CCG have good clinical governance and quality assurance systems. It is the Trust governance which should identify poor systems, process, medical errors, SUIs, complaints and outcomes. These should be dealt quickly and effectively. This is the way poorly performing doctors, poor behaviours and conduct can be identified. If the Trust has effective governance then revalidation should be simply an extension of that governance. It would be foolishness to wait once in 5 years revalidation or once a year appraisal to identify 'poor performance or poor behaviour.

Vijaya Nath

Assistant Director,
The King's Fund
Comment date
21 October 2013
Celia, I will be happy to discuss this report in more detail with the London RO network . Some medical leaders have reflected on the relevance of this report in other localities / geographies . I am interested in examining the experience of those undertaking revalidation.

Celia Ingham Clark

Medical Director for Revalidation and quality,
NHS England London region
Comment date
21 October 2013
I am grateful to the King's Fund for this timely report. It gives us useful information on the challenges and opportunities that ROs in London are finding as they implement the processes for Revalidation of their doctors. I hope Vijaya Nath, the author of the report, will come to discuss in more detail at our next RO Network event. In the meantime I note the desire for more educational and development of ROs and better communications between ROs and we will work through our Network to try to address these.

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