Medical revalidation has been ruled "cost effective" despite costing close to £1bn per year with no 'quantifiable' benefits
A Department of Health (DH) policy analysis has confirmed that the "large majority" of the £97m revalidation costs will result from 'opportunity costs' in terms of doctors' time.
The costs incurred by doctors undertaking appraisals are expected to be "significantly greater" than those associated with making revalidation decisions - which are hoped to be "relatively low" – as it requires a "considerable undertaking" by doctors on an annual basis.
Overall, however, the analysis concluded that revalidation carries benefits that are shown to "outweigh the costs" involved.
"Revalidation is shown to be a proportionate and cost-effective means of delivering the policy objectives," the DH review said.
The intended benefits of revalidation include: increased public trust and confidence in doctors; improved patient safety, outcomes and quality of care; a reduction in the costs of support for the minority of doctors whose medical practice is poor, through earlier identification of performance issues; and a reduction in malpractice and litigation costs.
"Quantifying the benefits of revalidation is challenging," said the DH review.
"For example, while it is clear that public trust and confidence in doctors is an essential component of any health system, putting a monetary value on this is not possible."
Despite not being able to quantify such benefits, the DH analysis ruled revalidation was a "cost-effective" means of delivering them.