Guidance for doctors’: requirements for revalidation

Revalidation requirements for doctors

Doctors in training should refer to the requirements in section 3.

This section explains what you need to do for revalidation. These are legal obligations set out in legislation that we refer to as ‘the regulations’1.

1.1 How to meet your revalidation requirements?

It is your responsibility to engage with the processes that support revalidation and meet the requirements set out in this guidance.2 To do this you must:

  • familiarise yourself with this guidance, and sufficiently engage with the processes that support revalidation
  • identify, and notify us of, your designated body and responsible officer, or suitable person. Alternatively you must tell us if you don’t have one. You must keep your connection details up to date in your GMC Online account. This includes informing us straightaway if your connection to a designated body or suitable person changes, if you no longer have a connection, or if you gain a connection
  • collect suitable information from the whole of your UK practice in line with the requirements of our supporting information for revalidation guidance. Only in exceptional circumstances will it be possible to maintain a licence to practise for doctors, or registration for AAs and PAs, where supporting information is drawn wholly or significantly from overseas practice.3
  • have an annual appraisal which covers your whole scope of practice. Your appraisal should be based on the values and principles in Good medical practice
  • reflect sufficiently on the supporting information you have collected, and discuss the information and your reflections with your appraiser
  • make sure your responsible officer or suitable person can make a recommendation about you
  • send us any information we ask for about your revalidation.

If you are a doctor without a responsible officer or suitable person you must also meet the requirements in section 2, including to:

  • find an appraiser who complies with the criteria and requirements
  • send us an annual return with all of the required supporting evidence, demonstrating your engagement with revalidation and your fitness to practise
  • meet the required standard in a revalidation assessment if requested.

Any doctor not sufficiently engaging with revalidation is putting their licence to practise at risk.

While you are responsible for meeting the requirements for revalidation, others also play a role in supporting you. Read about the roles and responsibilities of others.

1.2 Fitness to practise proceedings and revalidation

If you are involved in proceedings about your fitness to practise, you should, as far as is possible, continue to collect and reflect on supporting information, and have your annual appraisal.

When will I revalidate?

  • We are likely to wait until the conclusion of these proceedings before giving you notice of your revalidation submission date.4
  • If you become involved in proceedings about your fitness to practise after we have given you notice of your revalidation submission date, we may wait for the outcome of the investigation before taking any further steps in relation to your revalidation.5 We will formally confirm this with you.6

What impact will the outcome of fitness to practise proceedings have on my revalidation?

  • If you have conditions on your registration or have agreed undertakings with us, you should comply with these and continue to engage with revalidation as set out in this guidance. 
  • If you are suspended or removed from the medical register as a result of a fitness to practise process, you will not hold registration with us and will not need to revalidate.
  • If your licence to practise is restored, you will need to meet the revalidation requirements within the timelines we give you.
  • For any other outcome of our fitness to practise processes, we may issue notice of a new revalidation submission date, or request a new recommendation or further information in respect of any pending revalidation recommendation.7

1.3 Confirming your connection

For most doctors your designated body is the organisation in which you undertake most or all of your practice, and your responsible officer is a senior doctor within that organisation.

The relationship between you and your responsible officer or suitable person is known as your ‘connection details’.

You must make sure your connection details in your GMC Online account are up to date at all times. If your circumstances change, for example, you change or gain employment, you must update this information. This includes if you no longer have a connection, even if you think this might only be temporary.

In some cases, we may ask for information about your prospective, current, or past employment to help us revalidate you8. If you do not send us this information, we may begin the process of withdrawing your licence9.

How to identify your designated body

There are clear rules to determine whether you have a connection to a designated body.10 You can’t choose which designated body to connect to and a designated body can’t decide whether to connect to you. 

Our online tools should help you to identify whether you have a connection to a designated body: 

Connection to a designated body

If you are connected to a designated body your responsible officer must:

  • make sure you have access to appraisal systems and processes for collecting and holding information
  • make a recommendation to us, usually every five years, which indicates whether you are up to date, fit to practise and should be revalidated. 

If you are connected to a designated body you must update your GMC Online account and inform your responsible officer.

Connection to a suitable person

If you do not have a connection to a designated body you may be able to identify a suitable person. A suitable person is a licensed doctor we have approved as suitable to make a revalidation recommendation about your fitness to practise.  

Typically a suitable person will be:

  • a responsible officer or in a role with similar responsibilities
  • 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 
  • the medical director of an organisation or membership body that supports doctors who do your particular type of work.

A former employer, mentor or supervisor who holds a post like a responsible officer may be suitable. However, they must have sufficient oversight of the environment in which you work, to be able to make an accurate assessment of your fitness to practise and to make sure you participate in revalidation.

We must approve any suitable person before they can make a revalidation recommendation about you.11 We approve suitable persons in line with our published criteria.

If you have a connection to an approved suitable person, you must ask them to add you to their list of doctors in GMC Connect.

Doctors without a responsible officer or a suitable person

If you do not have a connection to a responsible officer or a suitable person you must tell us - you can do this by updating your GMC Online account.

If you're planning a long break in practice, or if you’re working outside the UK you may wish to consider temporarily giving up your licence. To avoid delays in getting your licence back when you return to the UK, you should make sure you are familiar with our guidance and requirements for giving up and restoring your licence.

Requests for additional information

After considering any information we have about your connection status and/or employment, or a recommendation, we may need to ask you for additional information or supporting evidence.12

You will normally need to provide any other information we ask for within 28 days. If you can’t fully comply with this request, you must tell us and explain why.13

If you don’t send this information by the deadline, or give us a reasonable excuse why you can’t, we can begin the process of withdrawing your licence to practise.14

1.4 Sharing information with your responsible officer or suitable person

If you are a doctor without a connection you will share information directly with us through your annual return – see section 2.3.

You must tell your responsible officer or suitable person about all practice that you do that requires a licence to practise.

You may also need to provide details of the responsible officer at other places where you work.  If there is no responsible officer this may be the person responsible for clinical governance. This will allow your responsible officer or suitable person to get feedback on your work as a whole and gain assurance that you are fit to practise.

You must tell your responsible officer or suitable person if any of the following happen, at any of the places where you work:

  • you’re involved in a significant event
  • a complaint is made about you 
  • there is a concern about your fitness to practise
  • you are suspended or have restrictions placed on your practice (by an employer or us). You must also inform any other organisations for which you undertake medical work and any patients you see independently.

If your responsible officer/suitable person, or their team, have requested information from you, you should respond in a timely manner to help them support you with your revalidation.

If you have a new responsible officer or suitable person, you may be asked to share a copy of your recent appraisals/appraisal outputs and revalidation portfolio with them. They may also receive information about your practice directly from a previous responsible officer or suitable person.

1.5 Supporting information and annual whole practise appraisal

Supporting information

You must collect and reflect on the following supporting information from your whole UK practice. You must discuss this at your annual appraisal to show how you’re meeting the professional values and principles set out in Good medical practice:

  1. Continuing professional development 
  2. Quality improvement activity 
  3. Significant events 
  4. Feedback from your patients or those to whom you provide medical services 
  5. Feedback from your colleagues 
  6. Complaints and compliments. 

Our Supporting information for revalidation guidance tells you more about the frequency and type of information you need to collect. You must read and be familiar with this guidance. Only in exceptional circumstances will it be possible to maintain a licence to practise where supporting information is drawn wholly or significantly from overseas practice15.

Your organisation should help by giving you access to relevant information from the clinical governance processes that support revalidation (for example, information about complaints and compliments). Our handbook for organisations, Effective clinical governance to support revalidation, describes the processes organisations you work in should have in place for supporting revalidation.

Annual whole practice appraisal

It is your responsibility to have an annual appraisal that:

  • has Good medical practice as its focus 
  • covers all of your UK medical practice
  • is with an appropriately appointed and trained appraiser. 

We, or your responsible officer or suitable person, will ask your appraiser to confirm if and why any supporting information is missing at your appraisal. If there is any outstanding information, you will need to agree with your appraiser your plans for collecting this.

If you have a responsible officer, your designated body will make sure you have an appraisal. You must use the appraisal system provided, unless your responsible officer requests you use an alternative.

If you have a suitable person they will help you access an appraisal for your revalidation and will make your recommendation. You must have an appraisal that your suitable person has agreed is sufficient for your revalidation.

We do not require you to use any specific appraisal portfolio tools or systems for revalidation. You should contact your responsible officer or suitable person if you are not sure whether your appraisal is sufficient for your revalidation, or to discuss the recommendation they are making about you.

The organisation where you work may set other appraisal or contractual requirements as part of your employment. That is a matter for employers and these are not GMC requirements. Failure to meet local appraisal or contractual requirements may be discussed at your appraisal but should not influence the revalidation recommendation made about you. Only in exceptional circumstances, where your responsible officer or suitable person satisfies us that significant failure to meet local requirements means you are not engaging with revalidation, would we consider local requirements as part of our revalidation decision. You should keep evidence of the supporting information you have discussed at all your appraisals since you last revalidated. You might be asked for it later by any new responsible officer, suitable person, or by us if you lose your connection.


1 General Medical Council (Licence to Practise and Revalidation) Regulations 2012 (as amended).
2 Published under Section 29G(1)(a) of the Medical Act 1983 (as amended).
3 This will usually be when you are working in a UK overseas territory
4 Regulation 6(1)(b), 6(2)(b) of the General Medical Council (Licence to Practise and Revalidation) Regulations 2012 (as amended).
5 Regulation 6(15).
6 Regulation 6(16).
7 Regulation 6(17)(a) and (b)
8 Under regulation 6(9)(a).
9 Under regulation 4(3)(d).
10 The Responsible Officer regulations made by the Secretary of State for Health for England, Scotland and Wales, and the Department of Health (Northern Ireland) for Northern Ireland.
11 Regulation 6(7).
12 Regulation 6(10).
13 Regulation 6(13).
14 Regulation 4(3).
15 For example, a legislative requirement to hold a UK licence in a country outside of the UK, such as in Gibraltar