Regulating doctors, ensuring good medical practice


Regular checks for all UK doctors

Press Release

19 Oct 2012

Every doctor practising in the UK will be subject to regular checks to help improve the quality of patient care, it was announced today by the Secretary of State for Health.

This is an historic day for patients and for the medical profession. We are confident that the introduction of revalidation will make a major contribution to the quality of care that patients receive.

Professor Sir Peter Rubin, Chair of the GMC

The new system of checks - known as revalidation - will be run by the General Medical Council (GMC) and marks the biggest change in how doctors are regulated for more than 150 years.

It promises to be the most comprehensive scheme of its kind anywhere in the world with the UK's 230,000 licensed doctors expected to show they are keeping up to date and are fit to practise.

The Secretary of State for Health, Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, today confirmed that the new system will start in December.

He said: ‘Doctors save lives every day and making sure they are up to speed with the latest treatments and technologies will help them save even more. This is why a proper system of revalidation is so important.’

The new system will be based on an annual appraisal and the information doctors will collect about their practice, including feedback from patients, doctors, nurses and other colleagues.

The UK will be the first country to introduce such a system covering all its doctors. To keep their licence to practise, doctors will be required to revalidate on a regular basis. Once the scheme is up and running this will normally be every five years.

The GMC will start to tell doctors their first revalidation dates in December and expects most doctors to have revalidated by March 2016.

Professor Sir Peter Rubin, Chair of the GMC welcomed the Health Secretary's decision.

He said: ‘This is an historic day for patients and for the medical profession. We are confident that the introduction of revalidation will make a major contribution to the quality of care that patients receive and will give them valuable assurance that the doctors who treat them are regularly assessed against our professional standards.’