WA News Letters No Case for Revalidation
No Case for Revalidation
Written by Dr Aniello Iannuzzi
Thursday, 29 September 2016

Dear Editor,

The Medical Board of Australia needs to provide convincing evidence that where implemented, the imposition of so-called ‘revalidation’ on busy doctors has led to a significant and measurable improvement in the outcomes for patients.
In 2014 in the MJA, Monash University’s Prof Kerry Breen said: “the medical regulator and medical profession might be wiser to first more clearly identify what the problem is that revalidation is trying to fix and then examine what methods might best suit that aim.”
“It seems illogical and unnecessarily costly to introduce an additional layer of assessment of all doctors when there is general agreement that most doctors strive to maintain and enhance their knowledge and skills and are rarely the subject of complaint. This is even more problematic without an evidence base to indicate that revalidation will achieve its stated aim.”
The Australian Doctors Fund believes ‘the problem’ has still not been defined. The argument that any area of the health system can be made safer with more compliance always needs close evaluation as it is a very open-ended claim. Currently under national law, AHPRA is able to assess the performance of any individual doctor. AHPRA has enacted mandatory reporting of doctors and other nationally registered health professionals. These are major powers which were granted to AHPRA to ensure public safety. Now we are being told it’s not enough.
Australia should not blindly follow bureaucratic process from the UK. The NHS is a one-system employed doctor health delivery service that does not match Australia’s public and private sector split.
We are yet to see any evidence that the NHS has measurably improved patient outcomes because of the introduction of ‘revalidation’. Professional regulation, like clinical medicine must be evidence based.
Australian doctors do not need any more boxes to tick and Australian senior doctors do not need to be vilified as targets by any regulatory system simply because of their senior years. It’s time for a reality check. The growing compliance burden being imported into Australia is counter-productive to productivity and evidence-based professional leadership.
It’s time for the profession as a whole to decide the issue and not simply have it imposed by a select group, namely AHPRA or the MBA.
Dr Aniello Iannuzzi, Director, Australian Doctors' Fund