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Medico-legal helpline

0800 716 646

I am a Responsible Officer. Is there a risk of litigation in relation to the revalidation process and will the MDU cover this?

It is possible that litigation could arise as a result of an appraisal and/or a decision on revalidation. For example, a claim could be brought by a patient who has been harmed by a doctor in circumstances where his/her appraisal was found to be satisfactory and RO made a recommendation for revalidation which the GMC accepted.

The patient may allege that the doctor was deficient and that deficiency, which should have been picked up, caused them harm. We do not expect that this would happen very often, but if such a circumstance arose the claim, for an NHS patient, would be brought against the NHS employing organisation and would fall under NHS Indemnity.

It is also possible that the appraiser or the RO could be sued by a doctor on the grounds that they had not been recommended for revalidation and that it has harmed their employment prospects.

This is perhaps even less likely, but in such circumstances the appraiser and/or the responsible officer would be able to look to their NHS employer for indemnity, as performance of that non-clinical and managerial role would be covered by the employer in the same way that current NHS managerial duties and responsibilities are.

Another possibility could arise in circumstances where a doctor was unhappy with an appraisal decision and/or a refusal to recommend for revalidation and refers the appraiser or RO to the GMC. This is analogous to the position now where doctors occasionally refer a Medical Director to the GMC. If the appraiser or RO is a member of the MDU they could seek our assistance in the usual way.


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