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Frequently asked questions about revalidation

This page is for licensed doctors and has some FAQs about revalidation.

What is revalidation?

Revalidation is the process by which licensed doctors are required to demonstrate on a regular basis that they are up to date and fit to practise. Revalidation aims to give extra confidence to patients that their doctor is being regularly checked by their employer and the GMC.

How will I revalidate?

If you are a licensed doctor you will usually revalidate every five years. However, revalidation is an ongoing process. You must have an annual appraisal based on our core guidance for doctors, Good medical practice. You have to collect supporting information about your whole practice and reflect on this with your appraiser.

We have information about appraisal requirements on our web site.

When will I revalidate?

Revalidation started on 3 December 2012. For the majority of licensed doctors If you were on the register at this time, your first revalidation will be sometime between April 2013 and March 2016. The majority of licensed doctors will revalidate once every five years.

You can check your date in the ‘My revalidation’ section of your GMC Online account.

What is my designated body?

This is the organisation that supports you with your appraisal and revalidation. You only have one designated body, regardless of how many organisations you may be employed by or contract with. Only UK organisations can be designated bodies, because the legal rules that determine this only cover the UK.

If you need help establishing who your designated body is, you can use our online designated body tool.

You can find the name of your designated body in your GMC Online account, if you have one. Remember, you must keep your designated body information up to date, including telling us if you no longer have a connection.

If you need further help, please visit our 'My designated body' page where you will find more information.

What is a Responsible Officer?

Your Responsible Officer is likely to be the medical director of the organisation that is supporting you with your appraisal and revalidation. This organisation is called your designated body. We will revalidate you based on a recommendation that we receive from your Responsible Officer.

Do I have to revalidate?

If you hold a licence to practise, then you will need to revalidate.

I work wholly outside the UK. How will I revalidate?

If you’re not working in the UK we recommend you consider giving up your licence to practise. This is because the legal privileges associated with holding a licence only apply to the UK. You do not need a licence to work in other countries.

You can still remain registered without a licence. This shows we recognise your medical qualification and you are in good standing with us. You’ll also pay a reduced annual retention fee and you won’t have to revalidate.

If you return to practice in the UK, you can apply to have your licence restored.

The process to give up and restore your licence is straight forward. We have more information about giving up and restoring your licence on our web site.

If you wish to keep your licence, then you will need to meet the same requirement for revalidation as every other licensed doctor.

If you have a connection to a designated body (designated bodies can only be UK based organisations) or a suitable person, you should speak to them about your revalidation. If you don’t have a connection, we have information on our web site about how you will revalidate.

I hold a licence but I don’t do any clinical practice. How will I revalidate?

If you don’t carry out any clinical practice or need a licence for your work, you may decide you don’t need your licence. You can give up your licence but remain registered. This shows we recognise your medical qualification and you are in good standing with us. You’ll also pay a reduced annual retention fee and you won’t have to revalidate.

The process to give up and restore your licence is straight forward. We have more information about giving up and restoring your licence on our web site.

If you wish to keep your licence, then you will need to meet the same requirement for revalidation as every other licensed doctor.

If you have a connection to a designated body (designated bodies can only be UK based organisations) or a suitable person, you should speak to them about your revalidation. If you don’t have a connection, we have information on our web site about how you will revalidate.

I do not have a prescribed connection to a designated body or a suitable person. How do I revalidate?

We have detailed guidance on our web site about revalidation for doctors who do not have a connection.

Do I need a specific number of hours or credits to meet the GMC’s requirements for revalidation?

Our supporting information guidance says we don’t require doctors to have a specific number of hours or credits of continuing professional development (CPD). As the regulator, we’re interested in the impact of doctors' learning and development and how that learning contributes to improving patient safety and the quality of care provided by doctors and the teams in which they work. We have published the guidance booklet, Continuing professional development: guidance for all doctors to help doctors reflect on how they fulfil their professional duty to keep their knowledge and skills up to date throughout their working lives.

How much CPD someone needs, and what CPD activities are appropriate, will be different for each doctor. For this reason we have not set a specific number of CPD credits or hours as a requirement for revalidation or attempted to prescribe the content of doctors' CPD activities.

However, we recognise that other organisations, such as the medical royal colleges and faculties, offer guidance on how doctors should carry out CPD relevant to their specialties. Many of these organisations also offer credit based schemes that require doctors to complete a specified number of hours of CPD. Many doctors find this useful. These systems may provide doctors with a valuable way to demonstrate at their appraisals that they are participating in CPD in line with expected practice in their specialty.

You can read more about why we have not specified hours/credits for CPD in our report on our consultation on our role in Continuing Professional Development. You can find more information about how we developed our outcomes-based approach to CPD in the final report of Review of the GMC’s Role in Doctors’ Continuing Professional Development.

I'm a locum using my own 'umbrella' company. Is my prescribed connection to the organisation that contracts my services through my company?

No. If you contract indirectly with an organisation by providing your services as a locum through your own company, this does not mean that you have a prescribed connection to that organisation.

You may have a prescribed connection to a designated body elsewhere, for example, if you are also employed in the NHS or the private healthcare sector. If you have used the online tool and it appears that you do not have a connection to a designated body, you need to:

  • Log on to GMC Online through our website. If you don’t already have one you can set up a new GMC Online account.
  • Click on the ‘My revalidation’ tab
  • Click on the ‘I don’t have a designated body’ button. Provide some information about what you do and where you work. This will help us to provide you with more advice.

We have detailed guidance on our web site about revalidation for doctors who do not have a connection.