Revalidation for medical practitioners

The Medical Board of Australia has published a discussion paper and interim report on a process that supports medical practitioners to maintain and enhance their professional skills and knowledge and to remain fit to practise medicine. The Board has adopted the term ‘revalidation’ for this process.

Feedback can be provided by 30 November 2016.

The Board states:

The expert advisory group has identified a two part approach that proposes:

  • maintaining and enhancing the performance of all doctors practising in Australia through efficient, effective, contemporary, evidence-based continuing professional development (CPD) relevant to their scope of practice (‘strengthened CPD’), and
  • proactively identifying doctors at risk of poor performance and those who are already performing poorly, assessing their performance and when appropriate supporting the remediation of their practice.

…. The interim report proposes a ‘two by two’ approach to revalidation in Australia:

  • Two parts: Strengthened CPD + proactive identification and assessment of ‘at risk’ and poorly performing practitioners
  • Two steps: Engage and collaborate in 2016 + recommend an approach to pilot in 2017.

This ‘two by two’ model represents evolution, not revolution, in the requirements for doctors to make sure they provide safe care to patients throughout their working lives, the report states.

In relation to doctors at risk of poor performance, the Board refers to research indicating that the strongest risk factors associated with an increasing regulatory risk profile that have been identified and replicated both nationally and internationally are:

  • age (from 35 years, increasing into middle and older age)
  • male gender
  • number of prior complaints, and
  • time since last prior complaint.

Additional individual risk factors found in certain studies include:

  • primary medical qualification acquired in some countries of origin
  • specialty
  • lack of response to feedback
  • unrecognised cognitive impairment
  • practising in isolation from peers or outside an organisation’s structured clinical governance system
  • low levels of high quality CPD activities, and
  • change in scope of practice.





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