The GMC website is a familiar interface for most doctors, the layout is logical and easy to navigate. Information on revalidation is under the tab ‘registration and licensing’. As expected, the GMC is an authority on revalidation and under this subsection it provides a single point of reference on the subject, providing links to relevant literature.
Information is helpfully divided into sections for; licensed doctors, doctors in training, responsible officers and employers, and the patients and public. To the right are quick links to all the GMC published guidance.
The section for licensed doctors reads a little like a ‘how to’ guide and is less extensive and personalised than the section for doctors in training but it is well organised and the subsections are logical. FAQs are hidden in the ‘help and guidance’ section.
For trainees there is extensive information on the key areas likely to cause confusion, for example: changing of completion of training (CCT) dates and time out of programme. There is a good section on FAQs and the opportunity to email the GMC if your specific question remains unanswered. Information specifically for SAS doctors or those in locum posts is lacking. The section for patients and the public helpfully outlines their role in the use of structured feedback and the importance of complaints and compliments.
In conclusion, this subsection of the GMC website is useful, well thought out and fairly exhaustive when used in conjunction with specialty literature. It should be continually updated as the revalidation process continues and problems are encountered.
The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges (AoMRC) website has a clear homepage with a series of options available across the title bar. Revalidation is one such option and the sub-sections are found by hovering over the title (there is not a drop-down menu which could be confusing for some users).
The AoMRC aims to share information and experiences of revalidation between medical colleges, thereby establishing best practice. This is achieved through regular meetings where each college is represented; the RCOG are well represented as it is chaired by RCOG president Tony Falconer. The site defines the role of each college by directing the reader to each medical college's website, this makes it clear that each specialty has independent advice on revalidation and that the academy serves as an ‘umbrella’ on the subject. Helpfully the link takes you directly to the RCOG section on revalidation, not the homepage.
There is an extensive subsection on the published documentation and guidance. This is disorganised and the subsections are not very clear, but there is interesting information and resources to be found here. For example, there is a template for reflective practice and a report on the effectiveness of CPD.
There is further guidance by specialty and here our college outlines clearly the supporting information and documentation required by specialists revalidating. The tabulated format is easy to follow. The FAQs are extensive and cover subjects omitted by the GMC such as locum doctors and doctors working abroad at the time of their revalidation.
In conclusion, this website is a useful resource but the layout is messy and at times illogical. The user can find helpful information and experiences from other specialties but can easily be overwhelmed by too much information. However, the FAQs are an excellent resource and compliment other information available.
The NHS revalidation support team (RST) website is modern, interactive and engaging. There is generous use of multimedia resources and colour-coded subsections for; doctors, responsible officers, appraisers, employers, and patients. It is easy to use and the homepage has sections for recent news and relevant document publication.
The RST works in partnership with the Department of Health, GMC and designated bodies to deliver an effective system of revalidation to doctors in England. The subsection for doctors states that the GMC is the primary source of information on revalidation, so material found here is an adjunct. It is not specialty specific and there is no specific advice for trainees. There is a helpful ‘10 steps to revalidation’ section, a clear example of an appraisal portfolio and extensive FAQs.
The website houses the medical appraisal guide (MAG) model appraisal form. This is supported with a user guide and extensive information for organisations collating appraisal information using them.
Information aimed at the responsible officers is extensive. There are case studies with difficult cases and FAQs. The subsection for appraisers is currently empty. The information for the employers is useful and provides an organisation readiness self-assessment (ORSA) tool and specific advice for locum agencies. The sub-section for patients provides an overview but does not mention the role of feedback, compliments and complaints.
In conclusion, this is a user-friendly website with some useful links and resources, however its major feature are the appraisal tools.
This is a useful, logically laid out and fairly easy to use site. Though there is relatively little original content within the revalidation pages, they link appropriately to the sites of the GMC, NHS etc. There is little obstetrics and gynaecology specific content apart from the CPD programme, but that is of little concern as revalidation is essentially generic. It does have a specific page for SAS doctors and trainees.
It is certainly a useful way to commence your revalidation but does not remove the need for collecting a large amount of data as well as patient assessment and 360° multi-source feedback. It could be recommended as the starting point for revalidation but it provides little that is not available on employer's websites or the Scottish Online Appraisal Resource (SOAR; http://www.scottishappraisal.scot.nhs.uk/) pages in Scotland.
This package is aimed at guiding and helping you through the steps that have to be completed for appraisal and revalidation. Finding it was not terribly easy as the e-learning package is one of a list of options you are given when entering the CPD page and I was not used to the layout of the Royal College of Physicians (RCP) website. I suspect that once you have purchased the package it might be more straightforward to find.
It is divided into three learning paths, which are accessed through ‘Your learning plan page’. These are: understanding revalidation, preparing your portfolio, and appraisal. Each of these should take around 1.5 hours to complete. Within these three areas there are e-lessons (interactive tutorials), key readers, interactive workbooks, videos (which wouldn't play on an NHS computer!) and a series of tests to see if you understand the process.
The advice is easy to follow and navigation is straightforward once you have entered the package but the corporate blue colour-scheme became a bit tiring after an hour or so. It immediately has one useful feature that will take you back to wherever you finished any part of the tutorials. There is an online support service, which will reply in two working days.
It will undoubtedly help a busy consultant prepare for appraisal/revalidation. Whilst some of the examples given are specific to physicians they are easily adaptable to our specialty. Much, however, was not new to anyone who has kept an appraisal folder for any length of time. In Scotland we have SOAR which contains much the same material and is free of charge. Though the e-learning package is comprehensive, easy to use and well presented there is little that can't be found from the RCOG website in the revalidation section or from the associated links. The RCP is charging £90 for their members to access this package. At that price I feel that fellows and members of the RCOG would be advised to try our website first and only look to a commercial package if problems were encountered. The problem with all these web based services is although they tell you what to collect, they don't do it for you!
Preparing for revalidation is an e-learning tool developed by the RCP, aiming at secondary care doctors who are going through the revalidation process as an appraisee. It can be easily downloaded with a small charge of £90 for non-members or fellows of the RCP. The package offers a comprehensive description of the principles of the revalidation process through interactive tutorials, workbooks supported by informative reading material. Furthermore, the package provides practical guidance on collecting appropriate high-quality supporting information for annual appraisal.
The package is user-friendly and easily accessible compared with some other hospital and university e-learning modules I have come across in recent time. Users can collect non-clinical CPD credits after completion. The content is logically and clearly delivered, although can be repetitive in places. There is also a mobile companion setup allowing users to access the modules through iPhone or Android.
Undoubtedly, this package offers an in-depth explanation of the whole revalidation/appraisal process and enhances the learning experience. It is invaluable for post-CCT members gaining an insight of the revalidation process, especially preparing for consultant interviews. Nevertheless, for a more established clinician who has kept up to date with the development of the revalidation process through the RCOG and the GMC website as well as the local hospital support systems, they would be unlikely to find that this online tool adds much further benefit. The only way to learn is to have a go and to actively take part in the process. The most taxing challenge a lot of my consultant colleagues have encountered is not a lack of understanding of the principles of revalidation, but rather inadequate time and resource allocated at workplaces to collect the supporting information.