Impact of revalidation on clinical and non-clinical activity

Revalidation is the new process required for doctors to confirm periodically that they are continuing to practise at the level required by their regulatory body, the General Medical Council (GMC). The process centres around an enhanced appraisal with doctors providing supporting evidence of their fitness to practise. This project assessed the potential impact of this mandatory participation in strengthened appraisal and revalidation on patients, on the NHS, and on the professional, non-clinical supporting professional activities (SPAs) responsibilities of doctors within the NHS. Using a survey, the project aimed to achieve a greater understanding of how consultants (and SAS doctors) currently use their time across the variety of activities they undertake. It elicited the priority given by doctors to different SPA activities (including the current appraisal system) through two methods: the actual time spent in activities (given their current job plan) and the second through a discrete choice experiment using hypothetical scenarios.

The study showed no strong evidence that direct patient care by consultants will be compromised in the short term by the requirements of new appraisal and revalidation processes but suggested SAS doctors may find it more difficult to protect direct patient care. However, with various pressures on medical time and once the full requirements of revalidation in practice are known, further modelling will be required to quantify the full impact on wider professional responsibilities.

Outcome and Translation

The information gained from the survey helped understand the likely impact of mandatory participation in revalidation on the availability of this time and provided information to predict the likely impact of revalidation on different groups of doctors and across the spectrum of professional activity.

HERU researchers involved in this research project:Diane Skåtun and Divine Ikenwilo

External collaborators: B Frier, E Tait, C Pottinger (RCPE); G Youngston, A Rooney (RCSEd); R Nothcote (RCPSG); I Starke (RCPL); C Dodds (RCoA); B Cunliffe, K Rodgers (NHS North-East) and F French (NES/ISD)


Skåtun, D. and Ikenwilo, D. (2012) Impact of revalidation on the clinical and non clinical activity of hospital doctors. Research Report to the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges, Academy of Medical Royal Colleges.

Ikenwilo, D. and Skåtun, D. (2014) 'Perceived need and barriers to continuing professional development among doctors', Health Policy, 117(2), 195-202.


Ikenwilo, D. and Skåtun, D. (2013) 'Job satisfaction and intentions to alter contracted hours among doctors in Scotland', Nordic Health Economists Study Group, Oslo, Norway, 14-16 August 2013.