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Headlines and deadlines

Revalidation begins

The General Medical Council (GMC) has begun the process of revalidating all UK doctors.

Revalidation is the process whereby all licensed doctors will have to demonstrate to the GMC that they are up-to-date and fit to practise through regular checks, based on feedback they collect from their patients and colleagues.

The GMC, which has overarching responsibility for revalidating doctors, has set the standards for revalidation, and the medical royal colleges and faculties have defined the requirements for doctors practising in a particular specialty.

A fifth of licensed doctors are expected to be revalidated between April 2013 and the end of March 2014. The rest will be revalidated on a rolling five-year cycle; the majority by the end of March 2016, and all remaining licensed doctors by the end of March 2018. All responsible officers and other medical leaders should be revalidated by March this year.

All responsible officers and other medical leaders should be revalidated by March this year

Sir Richard Thompson, Royal College of Physicians president, said: “Regular participation in the revalidation process will support physicians to develop and maintain the highest standards of care for their patients, and to achieve excellence in their professional lives. It is vital that all doctors begin preparing for revalidation by collecting their supporting information for their yearly appraisal and making themselves familiar with the process.”

The UK is the first country to introduce such a system covering all its doctors. Professor Sir Peter Rubin, Chair of the GMC, said: “This is an historic day for patients and for the medical profession. We are confident that the introduction of revalidation will make a major contribution to the quality of care that patients receive and will give them valuable assurance that the doctors who treat them are regularly assessed against our professional standards.”

Further information

NHSLA: new report on maternity claims

The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) has published a report on clinical negligence claims in maternity services.

This report analyses the costs to the NHS of litigation in maternity services over a ten-year period between 2000 and 2010. In that time, there were 5,087 maternity claims costing a total of £3.1 billion from a cohort of approximately 5.5 million births. This constitutes less than 1 in 1,000 births ending in litigation.

NHSLA maternity claims

The most common causes of claims were for:

  • Mistakes in the management of labour
  • Mistakes in cardiotocograph (CTG) interpretation
  • Babies suffering cerebral palsy.
  • Four risk areas were identified for further review and analysis. These were antenatal ultrasound investigations, cardiotocograph interpretation in labour, perineal trauma and uterine rupture. In some of the categories, multi-factorial contributory factors were found.

    The report was welcomed by the Royal Colleges of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (RCOG). It has called for:

    • A clinical database to be set up, to run in parallel with that of the NHSLA, akin to the Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries
    • An audit of guideline implementation and an assessment of the role of failure of training and guideline use in claims
    • Any analysis of litigation claims to be fed back to maternity services in a timely manner
    • Urgent government action to improve staffing ratios, perhaps linking with the insurance and legal sectors for funding
    • Increased investment in research and innovation.

    For more information, visit

    NICE guidance watch

    This is a selection of the guidance NICE is expected to publish over the next few months. Publication dates may be subject to change; visit

    • Macular oedema (diabetic)
    • Epilepsy
    • Asthma
    • Ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy for varicose veins
    • IRE for the treatment of pancreatic cancer, primary lung cancer and metastases in the lung and renal cancer
    • Electrochemotherapy for the treatment of skin cancers
    • Hypertension
    • Peripheral nerve field stimulation for chronic low back pain
    • Selective internal radiation therapy for primary hepatocellular carcinoma
    • Insertion of a subcutaneous implantable cardioverter defibrillator for prevention of sudden cardiac death
    • Exposed customised titanium implants for orofacial reconstruction
    • Conduct disorders in children and young people
    • Asthma
    • Vertebral fractures – vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty
    • Ovarian cancer (metastatic)
    • Management of venous thromboembolic diseases
    • Social anxiety disorder
    • Feverish illness in children
    • Prostate artery embolisation for benign prostatic hyperplasia
    • Hyperuricaemia (symptomatic gout) – pegloticase
    Download a PDF of this edition
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