The recommendations

There are three recommendations your responsible officer or suitable person can make about your revalidation:

  • recommendation to revalidate
  • recommendation to defer
  • recommendation of non-engagement.

We use this recommendation and other information to make our decision about your revalidation (see the next chapter).

A recommendation to revalidate

A recommendation to revalidate is a formal declaration from your responsible officer or suitable person that you are up to date and fit to practise. It confirms that you have:

More information about what is required for a recommendation to revalidate  is set out in our protocol for making revalidation recommendations.

If we accept a recommendation to revalidate, both you and your responsible officer or suitable person will receive confirmation of this and your next revalidation submission date.

A recommendation to defer

The purpose of a recommendation to defer is to provide flexibility where a doctor is sufficiently meeting the requirements for their revalidation, but their responsible officer or suitable person needs more time before they can make a recommendation to revalidate.

A deferral of your revalidation submission date:

  • is not a penalty
  • does not imply any judgement about your fitness to practise
  • does not affect your licence to practise
  • is not publically available or published on the medical register.

There are two reasons why we would accept a recommendation to defer:

  • You have been unable to collect and reflect on all of the required supporting information by your revalidation submission date and there are reasonable circumstances to account for this. Examples of reasonable circumstances include parental or carers leave, a sabbatical, a break from practice, or sickness absence.
  • You are participating in an ongoing local HR or disciplinary process and your responsible officer or suitable person needs that process to conclude before they can make a recommendation to revalidate.

More information about what is required for a recommendation to defer is set out in the GMC protocol for making revalidation recommendations.

Your responsible officer or suitable person must specify the period of time for which they need to defer your submission date and agree with you what you need to do by this new date. We expect you to meet these requirements by this date, unless you have a reasonable excuse. These requirements may include having another appropriate appraisal within the deferral period.

If we accept a recommendation to defer we will notify you and your responsible officer or suitable person and confirm your new revalidation submission date, at least three months in advance. Your responsible officer or suitable person will need to make a recommendation about your revalidation on or before that date, during the statutory notice period. We would not expect to receive a further recommendation to defer unless there were exceptional circumstances.

A recommendation of non-engagement

It is your responsibility to make sure you sufficiently engage with revalidation.

Your responsible officer or suitable person can make a recommendation of non-engagement if you have:

  • not sufficiently engaged with the processes that support revalidation
  • failed to comply with the requirements for revalidation (set out in this guidance).

Your responsible officer or suitable person can inform us of this at any time and does not need to wait until your formal notice period.

You can find more information about what is required for a recommendation of non-engagement in the GMC protocol for making revalidation recommendations.

If we accept a recommendation of non-engagement, we will begin the process of withdrawing your licence. We will:

  • write to inform you that we have received a recommendation of non-engagement, stating that you have not been sufficiently engaging with the processes for your revalidation and that we are considering withdrawing your licence.
  • give you the opportunity to make representations to us, explaining how you are meeting the requirements of revalidation, or the reasons why you have been unable to do so.
  • if you provide representations, obtain further information from your responsible officer or suitable person as to whether, following your representations, they consider you are sufficiently engaging with revalidation.
  • consider your representations and any other information available to us in deciding whether you have failed to meet the requirements of revalidation without reasonable excuse and to withdraw your licence.

If you begin to sufficiently engage with the revalidation process, we may decide not to withdraw your licence. Instead we may, for example, decide to defer your revalidation and issue you with a new revalidation submission date.

If we remove your licence for failing to comply with our revalidation requirements, you may continue to hold GMC registration without a licence.

You can appeal a decision to withdraw your licence.

More information about withdrawal of a licence, holding registration without a licence and appeals is available in our guidance, Revalidation and the licence to practise: withdrawing, giving up or restoring your licence and licensing appeals.