STRUCTURE: Sheffield PCT has identified a “governance risk” to its “organisational readiness self assessment” process - a key process in the revalidation of doctors.

A PCT board paper describes how the ORSA process was introduced in April 2011, in order to assess organisations’ readiness for revalidation, which is due to be introduced “towards the end of the calendar year 2012”.

The first ORSA return was due in May covering 2010-11. They are intended to, “provide assurance that local systems of medical appraisal and clinical governance function effectively and fairly in distinguishing between satisfactory and poor performance and that responsible officers are making correct and valid recommendations”.

The return includes details about the organisation’s revalidation responsible officer, its appraisal programme for doctors and its “governance and accountability arrangements” for assuring its “statutory responsibility for the quality of the care provided” is met.

The report says the board should note its progress and action plan in respose to the 2010-11 review.

However, it says the board should also note the risk to the process posed by the fact that its responsible officer for revalidation is its public health director. Public health is due to become the responsibility of local authorities under the government’s reform plans.

The report says: “The director of public health is the responsible officer for NHS Sheffield this will logically change with the transfer of the public health functions to the Local Authority. This presents a governance risk and consideration will need to be given as soon as possible to new arrangements.”

It says potential solutions include “a new appointment or a PCT cluster arrangement”. The paper also says the “future transition will inevitably lead to the need for some centralisation of resources from the perspective of staffing and the best outcome for medical appraisal and revalidation”.