The purpose of revalidation is to evaluate a doctor’s fitness to practice. This process certifies registered doctors with a licence to practice can regularly show they are working to the required standards, and it also helps them to reflect on ways to improve their skills and knowledge. Revalidation is imperative from a patient’s perspective as it reassures the patient that their doctor is fully up to date with their practice and demonstrates the quality of care for the patient which in turn leads to improvements in clinical governance. Any failure to comply with the revalidation process will put a doctor’s licence to practice at risk.
As long as a doctor remains registered with the GMC with a licence to practice in the UK, they must engage with the revalidation process every five years.
There are different revalidation requirements for doctors who have a connection, doctors who do not have a connection and for doctors in training. We have detailed the appropriate requirements in further detail below.
Doctors with a Connection
The majority of doctors in the UK will have a connection and revalidate through a process of annual appraisals based on Good Medical Practice, as well as a five-yearly recommendation from their Responsible Officer (RO) or Suitable Person. This recommendation will be based on the outcome of their appraisals and clinical governance information.
- You must ensure your connection information is updated on GMC Online.
- You are required to collate a range of evidence and examples of your clinical work throughout the year. During your yearly appraisals, you have the opportunity to identify any strengths along with areas for development. The types of supporting evidence that you need to collate, reflect on and discuss during your appraisals include: continuing professional development (CPD), quality improvement activity, significant events, feedback from patients and colleagues, and any compliments and/or complaints.
- You must complete your appraisal – which is a process of facilitated self-review supported by information gathered from the full scope of a doctor’s work. The following four purposes are considered:
- Knowledge, skill and performance
- Safety and quality
- Communication, partnership and teamwork
- Maintaining trust
The four purposes can be fulfilled when doctors collate their supporting information, reflect on it, discuss their practice and propose a plan for their next steps and improvements with their appraiser.
- As mentioned, every 5 years, the GMC will decide whether to revalidate you. If you are employed, this decision will be based on a recommendation from your RO or Suitable Person – they will base their recommendation on your previous appraisals along with other relevant evidence, such as clinical governance information. Some further information outlining recommendations which can be made have been included below on page 4.
Doctors with No Connection
Doctors without a connection (e.g., a RO or Suitable Person) will need to revalidate through a process of annual appraisals based on Good Medical Practice, along with annual returns which will be submitted along with their five-yearly assessment.
- You must ensure your connection information is updated on GMC Online to confirm that you do not have a RO or Suitable Person at present.
- As above, you are required to collate a range of evidence and examples of your clinical work throughout the year. During your yearly appraisals, you have the opportunity to identify any strengths along with areas for development. The types of supporting evidence that you need to collate, reflect on and discuss during your appraisals include: continuing professional development (CPD), quality improvement activity, significant events, feedback from patients and colleagues, and any compliments and/or complaints.
- You must complete your appraisal – you are required to source an independent appraiser, which must be completed robustly, consistently and focus on the requirements for effective and safe practice in the UK.
It is necessary for the appraisal to:
- Hold GMC registration with a licence to practice
- Have a prescribed connection to a Designated Body or a Suitable Person that the GMC have approved
- Be up to date with their appraisal training
- Carry out appraisals for a Designated Body or Suitable Person
- Have carried out at least five appraisals in the 12 months immediately before your appraisal
- Be discussing and reflecting on their role as an appraiser as part of their own practice appraisal
- Not have a conflict of interest with you
- Understand the context, scope and nature of work you do
- Not be in the process of having their licence withdrawn
The appraiser must provide a report outlining the details of your appraisal as part of your annual return – this is called the Rev 12 Revalidation Appraiser Report Form. The appraisal is able to take place remotely, via video link, if you are not able to attend in person (e.g., if you reside overseas). In order to source an independent appraiser, the GMC have recommended completing an online search for ‘UK Medical Appraisers’.
Once the appraisal has been completed, you are required to complete an annual return which needs to include (but not limited to): employment or practice history, evidence of good standing, your declaration of fitness to practice and details of your annual appraisals to show continuing engagement with the revalidation process.
The GMC will usually ask you to complete an annual return once a year, whilst giving at least 3 months’ notice that the annual return is due. You would be required to:
- Submit your annual return through your GMC Online account by the date specified
- Complete all mandatory fields
- Give a reason to explain why you may not be able to provide some information requested
- Pay a fee when you submit your annual return to cover the GMC’s costs in reviewing your evidence
- Send the GMC any information they request from you or your appraiser, after the GMC have considered your annual return, within 28 days of their request
- Engage with all parts of the process and fulfil the requirements of revalidation
- The GMC will require a degree of independent assurance about your fitness to practice that would normally be provided by the revalidation recommendation process. In order to achieve this, the GMC may ask you to take part in an assessment. There are 12 separate assessments, based on core competencies offered by the GMC, and if invited to attend, you would be required to choose the assessment that most closely matches your current speciality area. However, if you do not currently practice in a speciality area, you would be advised to select the foundation paper, which covers a broad range of medical practice.
Doctors in Training
Doctors in training are required to revalidate by engaging in the requirements of their UK training provider.
- You must ensure your connection information is up to date on GMC Online. Please be reminded that your connection may change when you complete your training or if you decide to take a break in your practice.
- You are required to participate in the Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP) and it is mandatory to discuss your progress and learning needs with your Educational Supervisors, including any areas for concern with any practice outside of your training programme.
- Your revalidation will take place – it is necessary to understand the timing of your revalidation and the recommendation that your RO can make.
Please be advised that if your training programme lasts less than 5 years, your first revalidation will take place at the point of eligibility for your certificate of completing training (CCT). However, if your training programme is due to take longer than 5 years, you will be revalidated 5 years after you have gained full registration with a licence to practice, and then again at the point of eligibility for CCT. This may mean that your second revalidation may fall less than 5 years after your first, but your ARCP date and revalidation submission date are not required to align – you are able to revalidate with less than 5 ARCPs. Your revalidation submission date will be shared with you, with at least 3 months’ notice, and will be recorded in your GMC Online account.
Please be advised that your RO will be required to confirm their recommendation on or before your revalidation submission date, during the statutory notice period (usually from 12 months before your date). Your RO will be asked to confirm you are fully up to date with your training and fit to practice.
Recommendations to Revalidate
The following recommendations can be made by a RO or Designated Body –
- A recommendation to revalidate – showing you are up to date and fit to practice
- A recommendation to defer – showing flexibility where you may be meeting the requirements for your revalidation, but the RO or Suitable Person needs some more time to make their recommendation to revalidate
- A recommendation of non-engagement – arising if you are not sufficiently engaging with the revalidation process or are failing to comply with the requirements for revalidation
After the GMC receives a recommendation from your RO or Designated Body, they will complete various checks and subsequently reach a decision about your revalidation.
If you require any further guidance or information in relation to the revalidation process, please contact our team.