Suitable Persons

A ‘suitable person’ can make revalidation recommendations for doctors who do not have a connection to a designated body. This page is for doctors who would like to apply to become a suitable person and others who want to know more about the role.

Why do we have ‘suitable persons’?

Most licensed doctors have a connection with a designated body. The Responsible Officer of this designated body will make a recommendation to us that the doctor is up to date, fit to practise and should be revalidated. However, under the current Responsible Officer regulations some doctors do not have a connection.

Our revalidation regulations, allow us to accept recommendations for doctors made by suitable persons on behalf of doctors who do not have a Responsible Officer. This will allow some doctors who do not currently have a connection to engage in local systems and revalidate.

What is a suitable person?

A suitable person is a licensed doctor who we have approved as suitable to make a revalidation recommendation about a doctor's fitness to practise.

A suitable person performs the same revalidation functions as a Responsible Officer and is responsible for:

  • overseeing the evaluation of fitness to practise, and monitoring the conduct and performance of doctors
  • ensuring that there are systems and processes in place locally to support doctors in their revalidation, such as annual appraisals
  • making recommendations to the GMC about the revalidation of doctors who have an approved connection to them.

If we approve you as a suitable person, all our revalidation guidance and instructions for Responsible Officers will apply to you also.

Responsible Officers have an important, wider role in medical regulation, helping to make sure a doctor who has restrictions on their practice is appropriately and safely managed. Suitable Persons are not responsible for approving the work place arrangements which must be put in place for doctors with restrictions on their practice. This function is carried out by a person who has the necessary expertise , and who has agreed to undertake the role when a doctor does not have a connection to a Responsible Officer who would otherwise be required to make sure such arrangements are in place.

Becoming a suitable person

We need to approve anyone to act as a suitable person, whether or not they are an existing Responsible Officer. This means that anyone who wants to make recommendations about the revalidation of doctors who do not have a connection to a designated body, must first make an application to us.

You should read the criteria for being a suitable person (pdf), which reflects the criteria Responsible Officers must meet, to make sure you are eligible to apply for the role. You should also talk to your own Responsible Officer before you make an application.

We will complete a pre assessment with you, usually by telephone, to make sure you broadly meet the criteria to become a suitable person. If we think you do broadly meet the criteria, we‘ll send you an application form to complete. Successfully completing the pre assessment is not a guarantee we will approve you as a suitable person.

The application form allows you to demonstrate how you fulfil the criteria and how you will meet your responsibilities. We’ll assess your application using specific criteria to decide whether to approve you as a suitable person.

We have guidance about how we make a decision to approve an applicant to be a suitable person and how we decide if there is a sufficient link between a suitable person and a doctor.

If you would like to apply to become a suitable person, please telephone us on 0161 923 6602 to speak to an adviser.

Making recommendations

Suitable persons will make recommendations, usually every five years, about the revalidation of doctors who have an approved connection to them.

We expect a suitable person to make their recommendations in a fair consistent and objective way, so that doctors and patients can have confidence in the way doctors are revalidated.

We have published guidance to help Responsible Officers and suitable people make their recommendations about doctors. This includes clear criteria for making recommendations.

Remaining a suitable person

Once an individual has become a suitable person, they must participate in regular checks to make sure they continue to meet the criteria. You can read more in our guidance on remaining a suitable person.