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Suitable Persons - information for doctors

If you are:

  • working in the UK and
  • need to keep your licence and
  • you do not have a connection to a designated body

you should consider whether there is a ‘suitable person’ to make a revalidation recommendation about you.

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.

This person will support you with your appraisal and revalidation.

Find out more information about this role and how a doctor can apply to be a Suitable Person.

Who can be a Suitable Person?

A Suitable Person must:

  • hold a licence to practise and been registered with the GMC continuously for at least five years
  • have a connection to a Responsible Officer or an approved Suitable Person, for their own revalidation
  • be a Responsible Officer or hold a post similar to that of a Responsible Officer in a healthcare organisation operating and located in the UK, the Channel Islands, Gibraltar or the Isle of Man
  • have the appropriate experience, skills and knowledge for the role
  • have a sufficient link with the doctor they want to be a Suitable Person for - this could be through an employment relationship, sharing a niche specialism or sector of work, or governance arrangements.

Read our full criteria for a Suitable Person (pdf).

How do I find a Suitable Person?

You need to consider whether there is a licensed doctor who could support you with your annual appraisal and revalidation.

Typically they will be:

  • responsible for the clinical governance and/or appraisal processes in your organisation
  • the Responsible Officer of a designated body you work for but do not have a connection to under the Responsible Officer Regulations
  • the medical director of an organisation or membership body that supports doctors who do your particular type of work.

For a small number of doctors, a former employer, mentor or supervisor who holds a post similar to a Responsible Officer may be suitable. However, they must have a link to your current practice and sufficient clinical governance oversight of your practice.

Once you've identified a licensed doctor who meets our criteria, you should ask them if they are willing to be your Suitable Person. You should both consider whether the necessary resources are in place to meet the requirements of the role, by reading our criteria for Suitable Persons (pdf). 

You must make sure there's no conflict of interest. You can find out more about conflicts of interest and appearance of bias in the guidance which accompanies the Responsible Officer Regulations.

We publish list of people who have already been approved as a Suitable Person for different cohorts of doctors (pdf).

What should I do once I have found a Suitable Person?

Once you have agreed that the doctor will act as your Suitable Person, you should ask them to contact us to apply to be approved as your Suitable Person.

We will ask them to complete a pre-assessment, usually over the telephone. If we think they broadly meet the criteria, we will ask them to fill in an application form. This needs to be supported by sufficient evidence for us to assess whether they meet our criteria to be approved as your Suitable Person.

Please remember we need to approve them as your Suitable Person before they can make a recommendation about you, even if we have already approved them for another doctor.

We have information on our website about the role and how to apply.

What can I expect my Suitable Person to do?

Your Suitable Person will:

  • Let you know whether they will charge you a fee for arranging your annual appraisal and for making a revalidation recommendation about you.
  • Make sure that you are taking part in annual appraisal. This might be arranged through their organisation or through an agreement which they have made with another medical appraisal provider.
  • make a revalidation recommendation about you. To do this, they will have in place processes to:
    • monitor any concerns which might arise about your practice
    • keep records of the evaluations of your fitness to practise, including annual appraisals and any other investigations or assessments
    • make sure that you are complying with any conditions imposed by, or undertakings agreed with, the GMC.

What will my Suitable Person expect me to do?

Your Suitable Person will expect you to:

  • make sure you do not have a connection to a designated body. You can do this using our online help tool.

They'll also expect you to take reasonable steps to collect supporting information about your practice, for discussion at your appraisal. This includes, where appropriate, seeking advice and guidance from a medical royal college or faculty about the requirements in particular specialties or general practice.

What if I can't find a Suitable Person?

Quick links to our guidance