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GP Revalidation

Volume 517: debated on Tuesday 2 November 2010

8. What mechanisms he plans to put in place to provide for GP revalidation after the ending of primary care trusts. (20936)

The General Medical Council is responsible for the revalidation of doctors, rather than primary care trusts. In the current structures, subject to parliamentary approval, responsible officers in primary care trusts will make recommendations to the GMC on the fitness to practice of doctors in primary care. Before the dissolution of primary care trusts, we will consult on options for responsible officers in primary care.

I am very grateful for that answer from my right hon. Friend. I welcome the commissioning role that GPs are to have. Does he believe, however, that there needs to be a distance between revalidation and local GP practices, and that that would best sit at a county or metropolitan borough level?

Yes, I am grateful to my hon. Friend. Indeed, we will take account of precisely the point that he makes when we consult on how responsible officers in primary care will be established in future following primary care trusts. It is important to recognise that revalidation should be a process very like the normal appraisal of staff. However, when it comes to investigation of fitness to practise, it will be important for there to be proper independence.

This is a very important issue affecting patient safety. The Secretary of State will know that the British Medical Association has raised significant concerns about the revalidation proposals, referring specifically to the implications of the reorganisation. Does he recall criticising NHS reorganisations and their cost in his conference speech on 5 October 2009? Why, then, has he embarked on a reorganisation that will cost an estimated £3 billion at a time when the NHS will also face deep cuts because of his broken promises over funding?

May I welcome the hon. Gentleman to his new responsibilities?

We are doing this because it is absolutely essential for the NHS to use resources better to deliver improving outcomes for patients. A combination of the ability for general practice-led consortiums to combine the management of care for patients with the management of resources is instrumental to achieving that. It will deliver substantial reductions in management costs. We will achieve a £1.9 billion-a-year reduction in management costs by 2015.