The Health and Social Services Department has appointed a Responsible Officer (RO), Dr Nick Lyons, in an interim role, one of whose key roles will be to oversee the process of "revalidation" of local doctors with their regulatory body, the General Medical Council (GMC). The post holder will be employed for one and a half days a week with funding paid partly by the States and partly by the doctors themselves.
Revalidation is a continuous process that enables doctors, through a system that includes rigorous annual appraisal, to present information about the quality of their practice and allows ongoing and continuous review to ensure that doctors continue to deliver high standards of care.
The UK is the first country in the world to introduce such a system across its whole healthcare system, covering GPs, hospital doctors, locums and those working in the independent sector.
In 2009, the GMC introduced the biggest change in the regulation of doctors for over a century, when they introduced a License to Practice. In the UK, the GMC receives recommendations from Responsible Officers (RO), on whether or not the doctors for whom they are responsible should retain their licences to practice, a process called revalidation. The RO function was created by law in UK countries, and ROs will typically be senior doctors in healthcare organisations, who have a responsibility for revalidation recommendations in addition to other related duties.
Following negotiations, the GMC has agreed to recognise revalidation recommendations from Crown Dependency-based ROs, provided that those ROs are appointed under (local) legislation and have duties and responsibilities equivalent to those held by RO in the UK.
Until such time as the appropriate legislation has been proposed and agreed by the States of Deliberation for the Bailiwick, an interim RO appointment has been made in order to ensure that local doctors are able to keep up their registration with their regulatory body, the GMC.
Dr Lyons said:
"I am looking forward to supporting doctors in Bailiwick as they demonstrate to their regulatory body, the General Medical Council, that they are up to date and fit to practise. This can only increase the confidence that patients place in their local doctors, who already participate in systems to ensure they practise to the highest standards."
Dr Nick Lyons works as a GP in the UK but has for the last 18 months worked to support GPs in similar processes in Jersey. He has previously worked with doctors in Guernsey in setting up an appraisal system. He has also led development of policy in medical regulation in the UK and been involved in research and development of effective appraisal and regulatory systems
The appointment will help maintain a coherent healthcare system and indirectly increase the States' governance and oversight (e.g. concerning complaints, clinical audit, and practitioner performance) of healthcare across the whole system, rather than just in public sector services. This should in turn provide the States with opportunities to improve outcomes for islanders across the whole system.
Any doctors in Guernsey whose revalidation is due soon is encouraged to make contact with Dr Lyons via the Health and Social Services Department switchboard 725241 Ext: 4327 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org