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Revalidation and the later stages of your career

Revalidation and the licence to practise

Revalidation is the process by which licensed doctors show they are up to date and fit to practice.

To practise medicine in the UK, all doctors must be registered and hold a licence to practise: registration shows you are qualified to act as a doctor, and a licence shows that you have legal authority to do certain activities in the UK, such as prescribing, and signing statutory certificates.

If you want to hold a licence, you must engage with revalidation, by collecting supporting information and having annual whole practice appraisals.

This applies regardless of when your revalidation submission date falls, and of any plans you may have for the future – for example, to retire from practice.

Remaining registered without a licence to practise

If you don’t need a licence to practise, you can give it up but maintain your registration with us. Find out more about whether you need to hold a licence.

Registration shows that you remain familiar with Good medical practice and are in good standing with us, but that you will not exercise any of the privileges given by the licence.

You may want to continue to use the skills and experience you have developed during your career in a variety of ways: for example, teaching, medical management, voluntary roles or providing first aid at sporting or community events.

You may not need to hold a licence to carry out such activities. But you should always check first with those who instruct, contract or employ you, or other relevant bodies.

You might also want to check with your medical defence organisation and your insurance and indemnity provider.

Restoring your licence

You can restore your licence if your circumstances change in future. Find out more about giving up and restoring your licence.

Maintaining your licence

If you want to keep your licence to practise, you must continue to fully engage with revalidation. If you have retired from your main clinical role, you may find that you no longer have a responsible officer and that the way you revalidate has changed.

Most doctors revalidate through holding a prescribed connection to a designated body (and a responsible officer). But others revalidate through a connection to a suitable person. Or by having an annual appraisal, submitting an annual return to us and taking an assessment every five years.

Use our connection tool to find out if your connection, and the way you revalidate, has changed.