Pathfinder Pilots 2010-2011
The NHS Revalidation Support Team (RST) Pathfinder Pilot project closed on 31 March, having delivered 3022 Strengthened Medical Appraisals. Over 3,000 doctors from primary and secondary NHS healthcare settings participated across ten pilot sites in England.
The objectives of the Pathfinder Pilots project were:
- To test whether the proposed components of medical revalidation, such as strengthened medical appraisal, are as practical and as efficient as possible, whilst supporting high quality care and providing confidence to the public;
- To produce an evidence base regarding the costs and benefits of medical revalidation, to inform the development of the policy and a full business case to the Health Secretary for the implementation of medical revalidation;
- To provide proof of concept and build understanding and support with healthcare providers and the medical profession, for the implementation of medical revalidation.
Pathfinder Pilots evaluation
The RST commissioned an independent evaluation of the pilots, in order to better understand the processes that are needed to deliver an effective medical appraisal and to identify where we need to focus our resources for the next phase its work.
We are delighted that pilot organisations recognise the importance of appraisal and revalidation to delivering high standards of care. The report reveals:
- 96 per cent of pilot organisations expect revalidation to lead to improved quality of care
- 82 per cent expect improvements to patient safety
- 80 per cent expect improvements to patient experience;
- 86 percent of doctors appraised in the pilot felt that their appraiser performed their appraisal well;
- 91 per cent felt that their appraisal was objective.
The report highlights the difficulties responsible officers encountered in making judgements in relation to certain types of doctors, such as locums. To respond to this, we have widened the scope of our next pilots to consider a model that is applicable for a range of doctors including SAS doctors, doctors in training, locums in secondary care and clinical academics.
This report also identifies a number of challenges, such as difficulties with using the Revalidation Pilot Toolkit and an increase in the time taken to complete medical appraisal. These will be an important focus of attention in the final year of testing.
In keeping with the findings of the GMC consultation, it is clear that doctors value a common approach to appraisal and one that is both clear and straightforward. The RST is taking forward these findings by developing the Medical Appraisal Guide, which will provide clear and practical guidance for medical appraisal.
We have also learnt that both appraisees and appraisers would value further guidance on supporting information.
- The GMC Supporting information for appraisal and revalidation published in April, 2011 provides useful guidance on the types of information required.
- The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges is working on guidance that will help doctors from each specialty in their application of the GMC document.
- The Medical Appraisal Guide will provide practical guidance on the content of supporting information for doctors practising in a range of circumstances, and how this might be assessed.
Through these additional pilots, the development of the Medical Appraisal Guide and our work to support designated bodies and responsible officers as they prepare for revalidation, we are confident that together we can deliver an effective system of revalidation for doctors in England. We look forward to sharing the best practice and learning from these pilots with you as they become available.
- RST Pathfinder Pilots evaluation summary report
- RST Pathfinder Pilots evaluation technical annex
- RST Pathfinder Pilots Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Press release: Ninety-six per cent of pilot organisations say revalidation will improve quality of care
- Case Study: Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust