GMC updates guidance to help doctors with appraisals and revalidation

The General Medical Council (GMC) has today (Tuesday 1 May) written to all UK-registered doctors to make them aware of its new guidance to help with the task of collating information necessary for appraisals and revalidation.

Licensed doctors are expected to collect six types of supporting information, to reflect on and discuss at their appraisals, as part of the process of revalidation – by which doctors demonstrate that they are up-to-date and fit to practise.

The six are: continuing professional development, quality improvement activity, significant events, feedback from colleagues, feedback from patients, and complaints and compliments.

"Our updated guidance will help doctors by making our requirements clearer, with a focus on quality rather than quantity"

Una Lane

GMC Director of Registration and Revalidation

Research shows that for some doctors the requirements remain unclear, and so the GMC has included details of its newly-updated guidance in its newsletter emailed today to all UK doctors.

The newsletter also includes an update on a detailed review of revalidation since its introduction in 2012, by a collaboration of researchers known as UMbRELLA (the UK Medical Revalidation Collaboration).

UMbRELLA's findings, in Evaluating the regulatory impact of medical revalidation, included a concern about supporting information, and echoed that in Sir Keith Pearson's review, Taking revalidation forward, which was published last year.

Following his review, Sir Keith recommended that the GMC should help address the issue by updating its guidance on supporting information, in particular to clarify what is mandatory for appraisal and revalidation, and how that may differ from additional requirements of employers, royal colleges or faculties.

As a result the GMC’s newly-updated guidance, available online, now:

  • provides information on the balance between quality and quantity of supporting information that a doctor must collect, but explains that the GMC does not set a minimum or maximum amount
  • reinforces the importance of doctors who have multiple roles gathering information that covers the whole of their practice
  • emphasises that appraisals and revalidation are not ‘pass or fail’ exercises, but should be developmental
  • provides more information on collecting feedback from colleagues.

Una Lane, the GMC's Director of Registration and Revalidation, said the guidance had been updated following engagement with a range of doctors, appraisers and healthcare organisations.

She said: 'Most doctors are now collecting the supporting information that revalidation requires, but for many the processes for doing so are not as simple and straightforward as they could be.

'Employers have a major role to play to address this, and too often there remains confusion between the GMC's requirements and those of employers or royal colleges. Our updated guidance will help doctors by making our requirements clearer, with a focus on quality rather than quantity.'

As well as updated content, the GMC's guidance on supporting information has also been redesigned to make it easier and quicker for doctors to find the information they need.

The GMC has also published updated guidance on revalidation for responsible officers – senior doctors who make revalidation recommendations for doctors – and new principles on information sharing for when doctors move between designated bodies or work in multiple settings.

In addition, the GMC is currently working on a separate piece of updated guidance on the importance of doctors’ reflection for learning and development, expected to be published in the summer.

The GMC's updated guidance on supporting information is available online.