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Blog: Does revalidation need a rethink?


22 May 2017

Have a rare dose of GP empathy. Because I really, truly, feel your pain – ever since I heard that the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) is currently consulting on how to introduce a revalidation process for pharmacy professionals.

Of course, we GPs have had to put up with the imposition of the appraisal/revalidation cycle for some years now. And I can confirm that the requirement to document at least fifty hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) per year together with quality improvement activities, significant events, feedback from colleagues and patients, and a review of both complaints and compliments (at least that last bit won’t take long) is about as much fun as it sounds.

In other words, it’s a demoralising, deprofessionalising, depressing waste of time which, ironically, distracts us from the very thing it’s meant to improve: patient care.

I doubt you pharmacists will fare any better. I won’t pretend to know chapter and verse of your working day, but I doubt that an annual requirement for four CPD records, a peer discussion and a reflection on how you meet regulatory standards, with examples, is likely to be something you’ll be able fit into your lunchbreak.

Listen, regulators. I reflect on my work every single day. I’m learning all the time, I do all the things you’d expect from a self-respecting professional and I’m already scrutinised to within an inch of my life. I’m guessing most pharmacists feel the same.

I genuinely don’t know what problem revalidation is trying to solve. But whatever it is, if it really is deemed essential – and I wish it wasn’t – then couldn’t it be achieved by a quick, painless and much cheaper five yearly MCQ to act as a proxy marker of poor performance? Then, by all means, give the lowest two per cent the nth degree. But leave the rest of us to get on with our jobs.


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