Testing and Piloting
In 2011-12 the NHS Revalidation Support Team (RST) led a large-scale Testing and Piloting project. This work built on the RST Pathfinder Pilots in 2010-11 and followed the Secretary of State for Health’s request for a further year of piloting in his letter to the General Medical Council in July 2010. In this letter, the Secretary of State set out an expectation that there should be a:
“clearer understanding of the costs, benefits and practicalities of implementation [of revalidation] so that it may be paced in a way that is affordable, supports high quality care and makes effective use of a doctor's time".
The objectives of the Testing and Piloting project in 2011-12 were to:
- inform the implementation of revalidation
- inform the development of guidance for doctors and designated bodies
- provide information to inform the Department of Health (England)’s business case for revalidation.
The project comprised several pilots and studies. The key elements of this work were:
- The Medical Appraisal Guide pilot: a pilot of the medical appraisal process that involved over 1,200 doctors from a wide variety of clinical settings and backgrounds.
- Public and patient involvement in revalidation study: a study to explore the patient and public perception of revalidation and to test whether the proposals for revalidation meet the expectations of the public.
- Doctors in training pilot: a pilot for doctors in training to consider a model of revalidation for this large and important group of doctors.
- Colleague and patient feedback study: a study to consider how the feedback from colleagues and patients can be most effectively given to doctors.
The main findings were as follows:
- The Medical Appraisal Guide pilot: The system of appraisal for revalidation set out in the Medical Appraisal Guide takes less time than previous systems.
- Public and patient involvement in revalidation study: Patients felt that the proposed policy would meet their needs, expectations and concerns and many assumed that a system similar to revalidation already existed.
- Doctors in training pilot: Doctors in training found that the modified annual review of competence progression (ARCP) process piloted was fair, efficient and took very little extra time. However, employers found completion of exit reports for each trainee time-consuming and resource intensive.
- Colleague and patient feedback study: Doctors are most positive about their appraiser discussing their colleague and patient feedback with them, strongly preferring a known and trusted colleague to deliver the feedback.
The testing and piloting project has also helped the RST identify where refinements to processes or further support is needed. A number of recommendations have been taken forward, including changes to the RST’s Medical Appraisal Guide and other guidance documents and to arrangements for the revalidation of doctors in training.
You can download reports on the findings here:
You may also find it helpful to read our frequently asked questions on the testing and piloting project.
The RST will continue to monitor the effectiveness of revalidation systems to help ensure that revalidation is implemented in a way that supports high quality care and maximises the benefits for patients, doctors and employers. For further detail, please see Research and Quality Improvement