Annex A: The legislation that supports revalidation
The Medical Act 1983
The Act is the primary UK legislation that provides the legal basis for everything that the GMC does.
The Act gives the GMC specific powers and functions. Section 29A, part 5 states that '"revalidation" means 'the evaluation of a medical practitioner’s fitness to practise''.
Doctors’ fitness to practise is the focus of both revalidation and the GMC’s fitness to practise processes. Nevertheless they are separate processes with different aims:
- revalidation is the process through which a doctor’s fitness to practise is positively affirmed
- the GMC’s fitness to practise procedures, as described in Section 29 of the Medical Act, focus on dealing with concerns that are raised about a doctor’s
fitness to practise.
Under the Act the GMC is able to make additional regulations that govern the way that the GMC works. These include the General Medical Council (Licence to Practise and Revalidation) Regulations 2012.
The General Medical Council (Licence to Practise and Revalidation) Regulations 2012 (as amended)
The General Medical Council (Licence to Practise and Revalidation) Regulations 2012 (as amended) were made by the GMC and agreed by the Department of Health and Privy Council. They include:
- the GMC’s powers to grant, withdraw, restore, or refuse to restore licences in a range of different circumstances
- additional powers that the GMC needs in order to maintain, withdraw, restore, or refuse to restore licences in the context of revalidation.
The Medical Profession (Responsible Officers) Regulations 2013 (as amended)
The RO role was introduced in the UK by the Medical Profession (Responsible Officers) Regulations 2010 and the Medical Profession (Responsible Officers) (Northern Ireland) Regulations 2010.
The RO Regulations that apply to England, Scotland and Wales were made by the Department of Health (England). The RO Regulations (Northern Ireland) were made by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety.
What the regulations describe
The RO regulations and accompanying guidance:
- create a statutory role in UK healthcare
- create relationships that overlay and transcend the existing structures and reporting arrangements within healthcare organisations
- describe the duties of ROs
- clarify who is eligible to undertake the RO role
- require you to make recommendations to the GMC ‘about medical practitioners’ fitness to practise.
You can only make recommendations about those doctors who have a prescribed connection to your designated body, as described by the RO regulations. If you are a suitable person, you can only make recommendations about doctors linked to you.
A set of amendments to the regulations, principally reflecting changes to the structure of the NHS in England in 2012 and adding new designated bodies, was published as the Medical Profession (Responsible Officers) (Amendment) Regulations 2013.