Medical Board of Australia
Medical Board of Australia

Board commissions research on revalidation

24 Mar 2015

The Medical Board of Australia has commissioned international research into revalidation, or ways to make sure doctors keep their skills up to date throughout their professional lives

‘We started a conversation about revalidation in Australia in 2012 as part of our commitment to making sure doctors in Australia maintain the skills to provide safe and ethical care to patients throughout their working lives,’ said Medical Board of Australia Chair, Dr Joanna Flynn AM.

Evidence from Canada indicated that 1.5 per cent of medical practitioners were performing unsatisfactorily. Translated to Australia, the statistic suggests that more than 1,350 medical practitioners in the country could be performing unsatisfactorily.

‘Commissioning this research will help make sure that the decisions the Board makes in future about revalidation are effective, evidence-based and practical,’ Dr Flynn said.

The Board announced a long-term focus on revalidation in December 2012 in its regular newsletter update to the profession. Since then, the Board has held a forum with the profession and the community on the issue, and worked with the profession (through the colleges and the AMA) on a range of options to progress debate and informed discussion about this issue.

Already under the National Scheme, registered medical practitioners must meet the Board’s mandatory registration standards, including for recency of practice and continuing professional development. Practitioners are subject to random audit of their compliance with these standards.

‘International regulators have put in place a range of structured processes to make sure practitioners provide safe and ethical care long after they graduate. We have commissioned this research to find out what is working well internationally, what is in place in comparable health care systems, and what principles the Board should consider in developing revalidation in Australia,’ Dr Flynn said.

The Board has commissioned the Collaboration for the Advancement of Medical Education, Research and Assessment (CAMERA) at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry (UK) to conduct the research. The CAMERA team is an international leader in healthcare regulation research. It has carried out a series of studies about regulation including revalidation for the UK General Medical Council, the Medical Council of Ireland, the NHS Revalidation Support Team, the Health Foundation, and the National Institute for Health Research. The Board’s research study will be led by Dr Julian Archer.

The commissioned research will:

  •  establish the existing evidence base for the validity of revalidation or similar in countries comparable to Australia
  • identify best practice and any gaps in knowledge for revalidation processes
  • establish the validity evidence for revalidation’s effectiveness in supporting safe practice
  • develop a range of models for the Australian context for the Board to consider.

The Board will consider the research findings and recommendations after June 2015, when it has received the results of the study.

For more information

Download a PDF version of this Media Release - Board commissions research on revalidation - 24 March 2015 (106 KB,PDF).

Page reviewed 24/03/2015