The General Medical Council has been urged to start the process of revalidation by 'late 2012' after more than a decade of delays in a report by the Health Select Committee released today.
Committee chair, MP Stephen Dorrell, called for commitment and 'grown up behaviour' from the GMC on the process which seeks to revalidate a doctor's licence to practice every five years to ensure the safety and confidence of the public and to improve the standards of health care.
'Now that 'late 2012' has been set as the date of implementation we look to the GMC to ensure that there are no further delays and that the current target date is achieved," reads the report.
Mr Dorrell also called for GMC guidance detailing a 'proper response for doctors who's performance gives a cause for concern' instead of assuming that retraining or 'remediation' would solve the issue.
The revalidation process is to be carried out by a Responsible Officer, a medical director within the PCT, or a corresponding role in the new Consortia, who will use the annual appraisal system to inform the process.
Mr Dorrell added that appraisals should also be informed by patients and colleagues and where this is 'patchy' it falls to the GMC to ensure employers have 'robust appraisal systems to avoid further delay' of revalidation.
Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the GMC, agreed with the report saying that revalidation is its 'number one priority'.
He also highlighted an issue raised in the report about the GMC being unable to check whether doctors from the EU are able to speak English so they can practise safely.
'We are determined to find a solution and are currently working with ministers and officials at the Department of Health to ensure patients are fully protected,' he said.
The reported also backed a call from the GMC for it to be accountable to Parliament through the Health Select Committee rather than to the Privy Council.
Mr Dorrell said that the recommendation has been made as the Privy Council rarely met and 'when they do it's not to discuss the work of the GMC'.