The new framework for doctors’ revalidation

Dec 12, 2017

The Medical Board of Australia has released its professional performance framework on 28 November. A response to the Executive Advisory Group’s (EAG) report on revalidation, Building a Professional Performance Framework (Framework), sets out the Board’s approach to ensuring that all registered medical practitioners practise competently and ethically throughout their working lives. The framework will be implemented in three phases, with a substantial body of work required over the next 12 months. Implementation is expected by 2020 at which time further review and evaluation is anticipated.

While there are some controversial elements, overall the approach proposed is reasonable. Through Avant Senior Medical Officer, Dr Penny Browne’s role on the consultative committee to the EAG and the involvement of our advocacy team in the consultation, Avant is pleased that some changes have been made to the revalidation model proposed originally. The term revalidation will no longer be used and the Board has refined the approach to the proactive identification of at risk practitioners. On CPD there are no real surprises in the Framework. Many of the colleges have already been working towards an approach consistent with the Framework.

The EAG’s recommendation regarding the proactive identification of at risk practitioners was always controversial. For starters, the risk categories identified in the interim report were too broad. The Board has generally accepted the EAG’s recommendations about risk associated with age (≥70), multiple substantiated complaints and isolated practice. More work needs to be done to implement these recommendations. This will include ensuring that age-based screening does not amount to age discrimination and piloting formal peer review of practitioners with multiple substantiated complaints.

In the short term, no immediate change is expected. The Board has a reasonably large work plan for 2018 for implementing the professional performance framework including piloting formal peer review of practitioners with multiple substantiated complaints. It is pleasing to see that this particular proposal relates to those who have had substantiated complaints, not all complaints.

Building a Professional Performance Framework - key points

The Board has moved away from the term revalidation.

The framework has five pillars:

  1. Strengthened CPD
  2. Active assurance of safe practice
  3. Strengthened assessment and management of medical practitioners with multiple substantiated complaints
  4. Guidance to support practitioners
  5. Collaborations to foster a positive culture of medicine

Avant will continue to represent members’ interests as the Framework is further developed and implemented.

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