By: 5 August 2014
Revalidation of surgeons: UK example could catch on in Europe


UK surgeons have to revalidate every five years to prove that they are still fit to practice and this example could be followed by other European countries

“In 2013, revalidation became a legal requirement in the UK. This means that licensed doctors have to show evidence to the relevant authority that they are up to date and fit to practice for the next five years,” Prof Timothy Briggs, President of the British Orthopaedic Association, explained at the 15th EFORT Congress in London. “Being up to speed with the latest treatments and technologies is essential in providing high quality patient care.”

The revalidation process is based on a local evaluation of doctors’ performances through annual appraisals. The BOA has developed a revalidation training cycle both in elective orthopaedics and trauma surgery to “make it easy for surgeons to get the information and continuing professional development they need to reappraise themselves as a basis for revalidation”, Prof Briggs said. As part of this process the BOA provided special revalidation sessions at the EFORT Congress for UK doctors. The sessions covered topics such as trauma surgery, total knee replacement, urgent spine conditions, and external fixation.

Even though the BOA revalidation sessions held at the EFORT Congress were specially designed for UK surgeons to meet their revalidation needs, EFORT delegates from other countries were welcome to attend these symposia. Prof Briggs: “We think that the revalidation process, which is now mandatory in the UK, will gradually become a standard practice throughout Europe.”

“Harmonising orthopaedic and trauma education throughout Europe is indispensable in view of the fact that the European Union has set the framework for professional and patient mobility. A single healthcare market calls for uniform professional standards,” EFORT President Prof Manuel Cassiano Neves underlined. “When we go on a plane we feel safe because we know that every pilot has to pass regular exams to make sure that he or she has the skills and knowledge to fly the aircraft. Our patients also have a right to feel safe when they need orthopaedic care, no matter where in Europe they are being treated.”