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Preparing for Revalidation - Purpose and power for locum doctors

For locum doctors who are not in a full-time permanent position and are working in a multitude of settings, there can be a level of uncertainty when it comes to preparing for revalidation and the compulsory annual appraisal process.
Though, with specialist support from a designated body, it needn’t be a tedious, intimidating or perplexing experience.

It is well known that locum doctors can experience a variety of challenges with revalidation, largely due to the peripatetic nature of their work, and as annual appraisals are the backbone of revalidation and fundamental to demonstrating your fitness to practise, it is important to have your ducks in a row to make the most of this mandatory performance-evaluating process which takes place once every five years.

ID Medical surveyed 250 of its registered doctors without a current prescribed connection to a designated body, and found that 79% of those doctors do believe there is uncertainty in the locum market when it comes to revalidation. Locum doctors’ service to the NHS is invaluable and every doctor, regardless of whether they are in a substantive or temporary position, needs to fully understand revalidation, be provided with the appropriate support and be able to revalidate when the time comes.

Doctors are connected to one organisation that will provide them with a regular appraisal and will support them with their Revalidation. This organisation is also referred to as a doctor’s ‘designated body’. Your designated body will have a responsible officer (RO) who reviews your appraisals and 360ᴼ feedback to ensure you are keeping up-to-date and are fit to practice. From here, the RO will make a recommendation to the General Medical Council (GMC) who will then make the final decision on the outcome of your revalidation.

Many locum recruitment agencies should employ their own RO and offer a revalidation support service, some found to be more comprehensive than others. It is a good idea to check when registering to work with a locum agency whether they offer a revalidation service and what it entails as well as what systems they have in place to support you through the process. After all, it’s imperative to your continuing professional development and career.

Revalidation preparation tips:

  • Though time is precious in such a demanding profession, do take the time out to carefully consider your career goals and objectives. Step back from your duties, focus on you, set SMART objectives and identify areas where you’d like to develop

  • Do a little research. Find out what your locum agency offers in terms of revalidation. Some will offer a full package which may include access to a revalidation portal, 360 degree patient and colleague feedback facilities, online e-learning and a support team for any queries you have. You may find it easier to manage your locum career and revalidation all ‘under the same roof’

  • Make the most of revalidation, reflection and learning tools such as Kolb’s learning cycle and online self-assessment resources from the GMC

  • Attend revalidation and appraisal focused workshops, designed to allay any qualms and concerns. Such workshops often come with CPD accreditation, so just by attending you’ll gain a number of points for your professional portfolio

  • Adopt a methodical, positive and purposeful approach to the process, appreciating that it is in place for a reason, with clear benefits which include increased public trust and confidence, improved patient safety and quality of care, reduced litigation costs and nurturing positive culture change in the medical profession.

No matter how bureaucratic the process may seem, especially as your priority is to provide high quality care to your patients, revalidation is an essential component of every doctors’ career; not just for your own development and continuation of practice, but to assure your patients that you are up to date, serious about your profession and dedicated to delivering high quality patient care and safety.

By ID Medical

ID Medical bio

Award-winning, multi-discipline healthcare recruiter ID Medical was formed in 2002 and is the UK’s leading supplier of locum doctors, nurses, allied health professionals and clerical staff, holding preferred supplier contracts with over 90% of NHS hospitals and private medical sector organisations.


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