Maintaining the highest possible standards
As a top cancer specialist, I am subject to a rigorous annual appraisal or re-validation to ensure I continue to offer cutting-edge treatments and exceptional services to my patients.
This includes feedback from my patients, and all the colleagues who work with me through a formal 360deg. feedback process.
I always welcome this opportunity as it provides a chance to take a moment out to review how I am performing and whether I am giving the very best possible service to my patients who are the No 1 priority in everything my team and I do.
The revalidation exercise, conducted for the General Medical Council (GMC), is – to me at least – about far more than ensuring I remain fit to practice.
It is also about taking stock and reflecting on feedback from my patients and colleagues in order to improve the service we offer and to see if there are any areas where improvement can be made.
Keeping up to date with medical advances
With so many developments occurring in medicine, keeping up with advances is important and it is something that patients do ask me about.
Patients may find it difficult to assess my medical skills but, if they decide to give feedback, it gives them the opportunity to raise issues such as how well they are listened to and how well treatments are explained.
The feedback can be given in a variety of ways, either anonymously, via patient groups or by way of thank you letters or cards.
Over the years my team and I have received a number of very touching thank you cards and messages from patients, and they are always very gratifying to receive and make the job so worthwhile.
The revalidation also includes my personal clinical governance information and formal feedback from colleagues, both within my own team and in the wider medical community.
In additional the appraisal and revalidation process collects information including the following:
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) – rather than just evidence of having attended or completed CPD, we provide reflective notes on what we have learned and how it may impact on and improve performance.
Quality Improvement Activity – evidence of what action my team and I have taken in response to the results of previous appraisals, and consideration of whether improvement has happened and been maintained.
Significant events – the doctor should be able to demonstrate awareness of any patterns and explain what they have learned.
In total the revalidation process covers a five-year period. It is probably more rigorous and comprehensive than in many other industries, but when patient outcomes are at stake, there is nothing more important than ensuring we are providing the very best treatments and service.