Guidance for doctors’: requirements for revalidation

Additional requirements for doctors without a connection

If you do not have a responsible officer or suitable person, your appraiser and appraisal must meet the criteria set out below.

2.1 Appraiser criteria

The individual who conducts your appraisal must:

  • hold GMC registration with a licence to practise. You can check the registration status of your appraiser on our medical register
  • have a prescribed connection to a designated body (or a suitable person that we have approved) 
  • have been recently trained in the knowledge and skills to carry out appraisals for revalidation 
  • carry out appraisals for a designated body or suitable person
  • have carried out at least five appraisals for the designated body or suitable person that they appraise for in the 12 months immediately before your appraisal
  • confirm with us that they are discussing and reflecting on their role as an appraiser as part of their scope of practice at their own appraisal
  • understand the professional obligations placed on doctors in Good medical practice
  • not have a conflict of interest with you, and avoid any appearance of bias in the appraisal
  • understand the context, scope and nature of work you do
  • see and verify the fitness for purpose of the supporting information you take to your appraisal
  • refer doctors to us if they have concerns about fitness to practise
  • not carry out appraisals for doctors if they (the appraiser) are in a licence withdrawal process
  • be able to give evidence, when we ask, that they meet all of the above criteria.

2.2 Annual whole practice appraisal

If you do not have a responsible officer or suitable person, it is your responsibility to have an annual appraisal that:

  • is carried out by a registered and licensed doctor who meets the criteria above
  • is carried out in the same room as your appraiser, or by video link, so that you can see each other
  • is supported by appropriate systems and processes, so that your supporting information can be verified
  • is based on a structured appraisal form where you and your appraiser provide a summary of the appraisal discussion.

You should expect your appraisal summary to include the following:

  • a concise summary of each part of the appraisal discussion including what was discussed and any agreed actions and outcomes
  • details of the supporting information you submitted, as well as any you haven’t and why. You will also need to set out what you will need to submit in the following year, and how you plan to collect it
  • the information about your practice, supporting information and reflection, as required by our supporting information guidance. 

Your fully completed, structured appraisal form, signed by your appraiser, will need to be provided to us as part of your annual return. Your appraiser will also need to complete our appraiser form. We will verify this information, and may contact your appraiser directly. You and your appraiser should record the information clearly. We would discourage the use of handwritten forms. 

You should retain the supporting information discussed at your appraisals since your last revalidation. You may be asked for it by a new appraiser, responsible officer, or by us, to verify you have met all requirements for revalidation. If you previously had a connection, this may include information from appraisals carried out by a designated body.

2.3 Annual return

Sending us a complete and accurate annual return is an important part of the governance process for doctors without a connection to a responsible officer or suitable person.

Your annual return must include a range of evidence, including, but not limited to:

  • your employment or practice history
  • evidence of your good standing. For example a certificate of good standing if you work overseas, or a statement of good standing from any previous employer.
  • your declaration of fitness to practise
  • details of your annual appraisals, to show your continuing engagement with revalidation.

We will usually ask you to submit an annual return once a year. We will give you at least three months’ notice that your annual return is due.1 Once you receive this notice, you can complete and submit your annual return at any time before, or on, the due date.

Please read our guidance on completing the revalidation annual return before starting your application as it will take time to gather the evidence you need.

You must:

  • submit your annual return through your GMC Online account by the date we specify
  • complete all mandatory fields
  • give a reasonable excuse if you are unable to give us any of the information we ask for
  • contact us if you need help to use the online system
  • pay a fee when you submit your annual return, to cover our costs in reviewing your evidence2
  • send us any information we request from you or your appraiser (after we have considered your annual return) within 28 days of our request.3 If you can’t fully comply with our request within this timeframe, you must tell us and explain why4
  • engage with all parts of the process and fulfil the requirements of revalidation.5

We will take steps to verify the information in your annual return6. This may include:

  • contacting you, your appraiser, your employer, or the medical regulatory authority in any other country in which you are currently registered
  • carrying out additional quality assurance of your appraisals.  

It is important that you keep the information about your appraiser and appraisals, as we may need this before we can revalidate you.

In exceptional circumstances we may request that you submit more than one annual return in a year.7 For example, if we consider that you have a legitimate reason which explains why you have been unable to meet all of the requirements for your revalidation, it may be appropriate to allow you more time. In these circumstances we may ask you to send us another annual return in less than 12 months.

If you do not meet our requirements for your annual return, and do not give us a reasonable excuse, we will begin the process of withdrawing your licence to practise.8

2.4 The revalidation assessment

We require independent assurance about your fitness to practise in the form of an assessment.9

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. 

You must: 

  • book your assessment within the timeframe we give
  • take the assessment on the date that you have booked 
  • contact us as soon as possible if you are unable to attend your assessment to gain agreement on moving the date
  • meet the required standard in the assessment.

Your assessment booking must allow you to meet the revalidation requirements within the timeframe we have given. If it doesn’t we will begin the process of withdrawing your licence.10

You must meet the required standard in the assessment. If you don’t, and do not have reasonable circumstances for this, we may:

  • begin the process of withdrawing your licence for failure to comply with revalidation requirements11
  • carry out a fitness to practise investigation
  • in exceptional circumstances, ask you to sit the assessment again, or to take another assessment designed to further investigate your fitness to practise at your own expense.

You must meet the requirements above, unless you:

  • have a confirmed connection to a designated body or suitable person
  • Provide evidence of reasonable circumstances for not being able to do so, or
  • Provide evidence of successful completion of an alternative assessment, approved by us as suitable for the purpose of evaluating your fitness to practise. 

1 Regulation 6(3)(a).
2 Regulation 6(14).
3 Regulation 6(10).
4 Regulation 6(13).
5 Regulation 4(3).
6 Section 29E(3) of the Medical Act 1983 (as amended).
7 Regulation 6(1)(b).
8 Regulation 4(3).
9 Regulation 6(8).
10 Regulation 4(3)(a).
11 Regulation 4(3)(a).