All GPs will be expected to complete an electronic portfolio for revalidation from April 2010, according to the Royal College of General Practitioners guide to revalidation published this week.

The landmark document sets out the evidence GPs will be expected to provide to be revalidated when the system comes into force from April 2010. The RCGP is encouraging GPs to begin gathering evidence now before revalidation begins to be officially introduced from 1 April 2010.

The document says that although it will be possible to complete a paper portfolio "the clear preference" will be for all GPs to complete an electronic portfolio for each appraisal. It said paper-based portfolios would only be accepted in exceptional circumstances if it could be justified by the GP.

The electronic portfolio for each appraisal will build into an ePortfolio covering the whole of the revalidation period. The RCGP said that evidence entered into the NHS Appraisal Toolkit and Wales Deanery portfolio will be usable for revalidation.

Prof Mike Pringle, revalidation lead for the RCGP, told EHI Primary Care that the college was currently exploring the options for development of the eportofolio but whatever system was developed would be able to upload information from the NHS

Appraisal Toolkit used by at least 80 per cent of GPs in England as well as taking information from the Welsh system.

He added: "We’re currently doing exploratory work and specifying what we want. The eportfolio will be ready for April 2010."

The General Medical Council is introducing licensing during 2009 and all doctors currently on the register will be entitled to a licence. In future GPs will need to be periodically relicensed and recertified (for the General Practice Register) and these two outcomes will both be achieved through revalidation.

The final details of revalidation for GPs still need to be signed off by the General Medical Council but it is expected that the details sent out in the RCGP’s guide which ahs been approved by a wide range of stakeholders will form the basis of the system.

Information which GPs will be expected to input into their ePortfolio include evidence of annual appraisals, personal development plans, learning credits, feedback from colleagues, patient survey results, any causes for concern, and clinical and significant event audits.

The RCGP said the guide would be regularly updated in line with consultation and future policy decisions made by the GMC, Departments of Health, the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and others.

Professor Steve Field, chairman of the RCGP said the RCGP was committed to delivering a system that was supportive, sensible and not overly bureaucratic.

He added: "We have been determined to ensure that GPs will have ample preparation time and the RCGP will provide a wide range of resources to support them."


Guide to revalidation for GPs