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27 June 2011 (updated: 06 December 2011)
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Q. I am retired but would like to remain on the register and fulfill by professional competence but I do not see patients. How will it be possible for me to conduct audit?

A. The Medical Council have agreed to consider this issue further. However, they have stated that the practitioner should audit their own clinical activity whenever this is undertaken, even if only for short periods during the year.

Audit is a quality improvement exercise and involves reflection on your practice - whatever that constitutes. If you do not currently see patients, perhaps there are other activities you are involved in on which you could carry out an audit. The Medical Council has stated that the following are acceptable audits:

  • Measurement of individual compliance with guidelines/protocols.
  • Skills analysis.
  • Department/practice audit.
  • Directly Observed Procedures (DOPS).
  • Evaluation of individual risk incidents/complaints.
  • Patient satisfaction.
  • Self assessment.
  • Peer review.
  • Work Site Visits (Occupational Medicine).

If you do see patients, even if this is only occasionally, you can design the audit to adapt to your consultations. For example, if you are seeing patients during the flu season, you could complete an audit on the flu vaccination guidelines - you could ask relevant patients as they attend if they have had the flu vaccination during the last flu season (data collection 1), offer the vaccination if relevant (action plan is opportunistic targeting) and record whether or not they had the vaccination during the current flu season (data collection 2/re-audit).

Alternatively, you could approach the practice you used to work in and ask them if you can join their audit or have access to conduct your own audit in their practice. In this instance, the relevant confidentiality, ethical and data protection requirements should be adhered to.

Source: ICGP Director of Research