Revalidation Helpdesk – Advice for Doctors, Appraisers and Responsible Officers

The College and the Faculties of Pain and Intensive Care Medicine are able to provide help  for individual doctors and appraisers seeking advice on revalidation and clinical standards.  We envisage that requests for advice will fall into six main subject categories:

  • The revalidation process Return to work, Overseas doctors, Independent practice, Locum work
  • Issues arising from appraisal Appraisal process, Scope of practise, Training
  • Continuing professional development CPD topics, CPD credits, Personal development plans
  • Review of clinical practise Clinical audit,  outcome data, case reviews and significant events (SUIs)
  • Feedback on clinical practise Colleague, patient and teaching feedback, complaints and compliments
  • Performance concerns Performance issues, probity, health, remediation

The Revalidation Helpdesk

We have established a telephone and email helpdesk, which can provide generic advice and can get help with specific circumstances.

Questions regarding the processes underpinning revalidation, or help with finding the relevant guidelines and regulations, will be answered by non-clinical staff within the department, and can normally be dealt with very rapidly.  Questions that require clinician input will be referred to the Revalidation Specialty Advisors for reply – this may take a little longer.

The Revalidation Specialty Advisors

The College has established a team of 18 senior clinicians to act as advisors. Between them they have a wide range of clinical expertise, including anaesthesia, pain and critical care, and they are located across the UK. The advisors have been trained in the processes.

Advisors are intended to give informed and impartial advice that can assist an RO in reaching a decision. They may be of particular value when the RO or appraiser have a different clinical background from the doctor.

Enquiries referred to the specialty advisors will be anonymised; the advisors will be unaware of the identity of the individuals concerned, or their hospital, and the identity of the advisors will be removed before the advice is issued. To avoid any possible misunderstandings or ambiguities then all correspondence must be in writing (by email). The College will keep a record of all correspondence for audit purposes.

Whenever possible we will send an enquiry to two advisors, so as to give a balanced view.

Scope and Liability of College Advice

The College cannot become directly involved in the decision-making process regarding a revalidation recommendation.  It cannot instruct a RO to come to any particular outcome, since this is the responsibility of the RO. However it can provide advice on the standards expected by the College in a given situation or set of circumstances.

Advisors will act in good faith, but it is inherent in a process like this then it is possible that there could be differences in opinion or interpretation. The College, though the Academy, has taken legal advice on the possibility of a legal challenge for negligence, and has sought indemnity to cover this unlikely eventuality.

When there are significant concerns about fitness to practise it may be appropriate to make use of processes that are already established. This may include direct referral to the GMC, arbitration by NCAS or an Anaesthesia Invited Review (ART). If an enquiry does raise these concerns then it can be reviewed by the College Professional Standards Director, who will be able to give relevant advice.

Contacting the helpdesk

All enquiries should be made by email and sent to: revalidation@rcoa.ac.uk. The helpdesk can be reached by phone (0207 092 1729), and staff on the helpdesk may be able to help you document your enquiry, but we can only send an enquiry to the specialty advisory team when it is received in writing.

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