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The role of a Suitable Person for contracted pharmaceutical physicians

Whilst only a minority of pharmaceutical physicians have direct patient contact, pharmaceutical medicine impacts in a wide variety of ways on health and patient safety and those who wish to maintain their licence to practise will need to revalidate.

However, it is recognized that some practicing pharmaceutical physicians work in organisations that do not have designated body status or are outside managed structures and therefore do not have a connection to a Responsible Officer for the purpose of revalidation. In these instances, the GMC have implemented a system to ensure they can either participate in revalidation through a ‘suitable person’ or by providing information and evidence directly to the GMC (known as a Direct Submission). GMC have approved a number of ‘suitable persons’ to act in a similar way to a Responsible Officer, but without a relationship to a specific designated body.

Performing the same revalidation functions as a Responsible Officer, a Suitable Person is responsible for:

  • overseeing the evaluation of fitness to practise, and monitoring the conduct and performance of doctors
  • ensuring that there are systems and processes in place locally to support doctors in their revalidation, such as annual appraisals
  • making recommendations to the GMC about the revalidation of doctors who have an approved connection to them. GMC reported, as at 1 September 2016, that 996 doctors without a prescribed connection to a designated body were connected to a suitable person, of which there are currently 23 approved individuals in England.

It was also reported that there are a further 4,619 doctors who have confirmed they do not have a connection. These doctors are therefore required to revalidate by sending the GMC yearly evidence of their participation in annual appraisals and are also expected to undertake an independent assessment of their medical knowledge and skills at the point of revalidation, directly with the GMC.

NB: Suitable Persons are not responsible for approving any work place arrangements which must be put in place for any doctors with restrictions on their practice, whereas a Responsible Officer would oversee and manage these undertakings or conditions.

A similar suitable person service can also apply for medico legal experts, researchers, private medical Drs etc. looking for appraisal and revalidation services through a Designated Body attachment.

Blog by MEDSU - Medical Support Union

For further information on medical appraisals and revalidation, 
KIndly visit our website - https://medicalappraisals.org.uk/
Our Youtube channel - https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGv7f1oW3wjrs1hCriW6k2Q

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