‘We must look at the whole impact of revalidation’

Yesterday, on the 29th May 2018 I had my last revalidation as a doctor [though I will still have to complete annual appraisals until I retire in 2022].

My experience of yesterday’s revalidation was the best yet. My appraiser was excellent and took time to listen. I felt both valued and encouraged and came away with helpful ideas in terms of professional development.

My previous experiences of appraisal have not always been as positive, where it has felt to me that tick-boxes and corporate risk have taken precedence over professionalism, ethics and pride in one’s job.

Coincidentally, on the same day as my final revalidation, in her No Holds Barred column in the BMJ, Margaret McCartney shared her views on revalidation:

I find that I agree with all that Dr McCartney says. I share her concern that we need to look at the “whole impact of revalidation”.

I find that I am not alone to be anxious about revalidation and I note the significant amount of time that revalidation takes up for medical practitioners. As Dr McCartney says, we need to keep sight of this because the “opportunity cost” may be less time for patient care:

I have decided to retire at the age of 55 years of age and am able to do so because I began work under a scheme that gave this opportunity to psychiatrists of my generation. Revalidation has been a contributing factor in my decision:

I have recently outlined my reflection on the Multi Source Feedback (MSF) that was gathered for my revalidation. My concern about this process is that it might unintentionally promote institutional and hierarchical approaches to health. In other words to limit learning beyond medicine. My fear is that this will encourage unrealistic medicine and suppress learning from interventions that may turn out to be more harmful than first considered.

Dr McCartney, towards the end of her perspective, says this:

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