Helping to raise standards through revalidation

It's important that every licensed doctor in the UK is keeping their knowledge and skills up to date.

We check this by working with experienced senior doctors to make sure every doctor has an annual appraisal.

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Doctors work with a specially trained doctor to agree a plan on how they can improve and build on what they do well. Every five years, an experienced senior doctor – called a responsible officer – tells us whether the doctor is keeping up to date with our standards set out in Good medical practice and giving good care. If the doctor is doing this, they can keep their licence and carry on working.

This system of checks is called revalidation.

Revalidation gives confidence to patients that their doctor is being regularly checked by a senior doctor and us. It helps doctors improve the care they give and to address any problems early.

What is a responsible officer?

A responsible officer is an experienced senior doctor. They're responsible for making sure their doctors review all their work each year at an appraisal and they take action if there are any serious problems. They usually work at the same healthcare organisation as the doctor.

They review information about the doctor’s work and tell us whether the doctor is up to date and giving a good standard of care (usually every five years). Based on this, we decide if the doctor can revalidate and can keep their licence.

How can I get involved as a patient?

As a patient, you can share your experiences of being cared for.

You might not be able to assess the doctor's medical skills. But you can say, for example, how well they listened to you and explained what they were doing.

Find out more on how you can help with revalidation as a patient.