Revalidation and the licence to practise

  1. Summary
  2. Revalidation and the licence to practise

To practise medicine in the UK, all doctors must be registered and hold a licence to practise. Registration shows you have gained the appropriate qualification or training to practise as a doctor.  A licence shows that you have legal authority to do certain activities in the UK, such as prescribing, and signing statutory certificates.

Every licensed doctor must revalidate to show they are up to date and fit to practise.

This applies regardless of:

  • when your revalidation date falls
  • any plans you may have for the future (e.g. - to retire or take a break from practice). 

If you do not hold a licence to practise then you do not have to revalidate. 

Some doctors may find it difficult to fulfil our revalidation requirements because they continue to hold a licence to practise when they do not need to. If you're not practising medicine in the UK you may wish to give up your licence to practise, or to remove your name from the register entirely. Our guidance can help you decide whether giving up your licence or registration is right for you.

If in the future you decide to restore your licence, it’s relatively straightforward to get it back. Please refer to our guidance on restoring your registration, or your licence to practise if you have given up your registration or licence and want to return to UK practice. In some exceptional circumstances, we may ask you to revalidate before deciding whether to restore your licence.

We also provide revalidation FAQs for doctors who:

  • are retiring or taking a break from UK practice
  • work overseas
  • are new to UK practice
  • have recently gained registration or a licence to practise, and have not started work yet

If you are unsure whether you need a licence to practise, then you may find it helpful to review our licence to practise top tips.