Revalidation and breaks in practice

Planned breaks in practice

Many doctors take planned breaks in their medical practice. For example, they decide to work overseas, take parental leave, or to take up non-medical or research posts.

If you have a responsible officer or suitable person, you should speak to them about your plans as early as possible. They’ll help you identify actions to take before your break, as well as any support you’ll need to help you return to medical work in the future.

During your break, it will be important to keep up to date with changes and new developments. You could do this as part of your continuing professional development. If you don’t have a connection, you can ask us for advice.

If you plan to take a longer break from UK practice, you should consider whether you can give up your licence to practise but maintain your registration. If you do this, you'll pay a reduced fee and you won’t need to revalidate.

Note that even if you give up your licence, you'll need to follow and remain up to date with Good medical practice. If you need your licence back at a later date, it's a straightforward process that takes around three weeks. We have guidance on giving up and restoring your licence.

If you need to keep your licence, you must continue to participate in revalidation and have whole practice appraisals. In some circumstances, when you take a break, your connection details may change and you may no longer have access to the appraisal systems you have been using. Check your contract or employment details and use our connection tool to make sure.

In some circumstances, you may need to find your own appraiser. In others, it may be acceptable to miss an appraisal. 

We don’t need you to catch up on appraisals you miss because of a break in practice. But you should agree this and the best way to fulfil any local requirements with your responsible officer or suitable person before the break begins. If you don't have a connection, you should speak to us.

Unplanned breaks in practice

Some doctors find they need to take an unplanned break in their practice due to factors such as ill health or caring responsibilities.

We understand there may be a number of challenges in meeting the requirements of revalidation if you're not able to work (for example, collecting supporting information and attending appraisals), particularly if you're not sure how long you'll be off work. 

We recommend you keep in contact with your responsible officer, suitable person, or with us if you don’t have a connection, to make sure you are supported – in either meeting the requirements of revalidation, or in deciding to temporarily give up your licence.