Coronavirus (COVID-19) – update on revalidation for doctors and changes to the notice period

We understand the pressures the profession and our health services remain under and that the impact of the pandemic will be felt for a long time to come. 

As we continue to support doctors to prepare for revalidation, we’re also extending the routine notice period that we give them ahead of their submission date from four to 12 months. The change will give responsible officers and suitable persons the flexibility to submit a recommendation to revalidate a doctor up to 12 months before their submission date and support doctors to revalidate when they’re ready. 

In a small number of circumstances doctors may receive less than 12 months’ notice. For example, where their revalidation is deferred for a period of less than 12 months, or as we transition to the extended notice period. However, in all cases doctors will continue to receive at least a minimum of four months’ notice that their revalidation recommendation is due. 

We’ve answered the main questions doctors have about their revalidation and notice periods below. But if you have any other queries, please contact our Revalidation team on 0161 923 6602 or email us.

Should I still have an appraisal during the pandemic?

Appraisal remains an important foundation stone of revalidation and we expect it to take place annually. It is also an important opportunity for you to reflect on the impact of the pandemic on you, and what that means for your wellbeing and development.

However, we also recognise that the approach taken by each designated body towards appraisal may vary according to local pressures. We support this flexible approach, so please follow the advice of your responsible officer.

Will I be able to revalidate if I missed an appraisal due to the pandemic?

If you missed an appraisal because of the pandemic, it should not impact your ability to revalidate if you’re otherwise ready.

Responsible officers can make a recommendation to revalidate a doctor with less than five appraisals providing all the required supporting information has been collected and discussed at earlier appraisals in the revalidation cycle.

Will I have to make up any missed appraisals before my responsible officer can make a revalidate recommendation?

No. While appraisals should normally be annual, you don’t have to catch up on an appraisal if there is a legitimate reason for missing it. This includes the pandemic.

Do I need to do anything differently because the change to revalidation notice periods?

No. You should continue to engage as normal, by collecting the required supporting information and reflecting on it at your annual appraisals. When you are ready to revalidate and your responsible officer has reviewed the information required to make a recommendation, they will submit it to us by your submission date.

What revalidation date will I be given when I revalidate?

When we approve your responsible officer’s recommendation, you will be given a new revalidation date five years from the date of your previous revalidation date. This will have the effect of extending your next revalidation cycle if you revalidate early in your notice period.  

What if I’m not ready to revalidate?

Your responsible officer can submit a deferral recommendation if you've not been able to collect all of the required supporting information and discuss it at an appraisal. A deferral simply postpones your revalidation date, it has no impact on your licence to practise. It does not reflect any concern about your practice or professionalism.

I don’t have a designated body or suitable person. What do I need to do?

If you need a UK licence to practise and you don't have a designated body or suitable person, you need to submit an annual return by your annual return date. Our guidance on completing and submitting your annual return explains what you need to do to engage. You will also need to sit the revalidation assessment and meet the required standard before we revalidate you. We will usually ask you to take this assessment in the year you are due to revalidate and will give you notice of this in writing.

If you’re not currently practising, ask yourself if you need a UK licence to practise. If you don’t, you’ll save time, money and effort by changing your status to registered without a licence. Find out more about managing your registration.

Top tips

  • Make sure contact details and designated body details are up to date on GMC Online.
  • If your practice has changed you should use our online tool to check if your connection to your designated body has changed. If it has, please update this on GMC Online
  • If your responsible officer or their team has requested information from you, you should respond in a timely manner to help them support you with your revalidation.
  • If you need any more information, please contact our Revalidation team on 0161 923 6602 or email us. We’ll do our best to help.