Revalidation of doctors in the UK

What is revalidation?

In 2009, the General Medical Council (GMC) introduced licences for doctors practising medicine in the UK. If you are to treat patients, or carry out tasks such as prescribing or signing death certificates, you are required by law to hold a licence. This applies whether you practise full time, part time, as a locum, and also whether you practise privately or in the NHS.

From 3 December 2012, revalidation will mean that you must renew your licence every five years.

How will revalidation work?

Revalidation will be based on local appraisals in your workplace. To revalidate your licence, you will need to demonstrate that you are up to date and fit to practise, in accordance with the values of good medical practice as defined by the GMC.

  • You will need to maintain a portfolio of supporting information drawn from your practice that demonstrates how you meet the principles of good medical practice.
  • You will be expected to have an annual appraisal based on your portfolio of supporting information.
  • The law says that a medical practitioner, known as a responsible officer, must be appointed to make sure your appraisal takes place and to evaluate your fitness to practice. The Department of Health has produced a detailed guide (PDF) looking at how this will work.
  • The responsible officer will make a recommendation to the GMC about your fitness to practise, normally every five years.  The recommendation will be based on your appraisals over the previous five years, combined with information from the clinical governance system of the organisation in which you work.

The GMC says you will need six kinds of supporting information to discuss at your appraisals. You will need to record information about:

  • Continuing professional development
  • Quality improvement activity
  • Significant events
  • Feedback from colleagues
  • Feedback from patients (where applicable)
  • Complaints and compliments.

For most doctors, revalidation will be a five year cycle.

More on revalidation from BMJ Learning

For more about how BMJ Learning can help you with revalidation, see Where to get help with revalidation.