Most NHS organisations are ready for revalidation at the end of the year, according to a new report.

A total of 82% of doctors in England are now affiliated with organisations that are on track to support them with the new appraisal process scheduled to be introduced by the GMC in early December subject to a decision by health secretary Andrew Lansley, a report published by the NHS Revalidation Support Team (RST) showed.

The findings documented in the Organisational Readiness Self-Assessment Report 2011-12 were based on responses from organisations that employ or contract with doctors as defined in The Medical Profession (Responsible Officers) Regulations 2010.

They looked at who was ready for medical revalidation by March 31 this year, and the verdict was that substantial progress has been made over the past year, with improvements in all measured key indicators. Some of the main findings of the report are:

  • Almost 100% of doctors covered by this exercise now have a responsible officer and almost 98% of doctors have a responsible officer who has received appropriate training.
  • 85% of doctors are now covered by designated bodies with an appraisal policy which is compliant with the requirements of revalidation.
  • 86% of doctors are now covered by designated bodies with sufficient numbers of trained medical appraisers.
  • The overall appraisal rate has risen to 73%, with significant increases reported for each type of doctor.
  • 97% of doctors are covered by designated bodies with a process for investigation of capability, conduct, health and fitness to practice concerns.
  • 58% of doctors are covered by designated bodies with a policy for reskilling, rehabilitation, remediation and targeted support which is compliant with the responsible officer regulations.

Dr Anita Donley, medical director at the RST, said: “Every designated body was asked to produce an action plan by the end of July to ensure their systems would be ready by December this year, when revalidation is due to commence.

“At the RST we are working closely with the SHA clusters to support and assure this process and are confident that the healthcare sector will rise to this challenge. However, it is worth remembering that most licensed doctors will not begin this process until April 2013.”

Health secretary Andrew Lansley said: “Patients and the public should be confident that their doctors’ skills are up to date and that they are fit to practise. Maintaining rigorous standards is critical to offering good care.

“It is good to see that the vast majority of doctors are linked to organisations that are ready to support them with revalidation. It is important that we regularly review that doctors are fit to practise to ensure patients continue to receive the best treatment possible.”