What is revalidation?

Doctors must regularly demonstrate that they’re keeping their skills and knowledge up to date. This process is called revalidation. Every licensed doctor must revalidate to show they are fit to practise and maintain their licence to work in the UK.


  • supports doctors to regularly reflect on their practice
  • helps doctors improve the care they give, and to identify areas for development
  • gives patients confidence that doctors are up to date
  • provides assurance that doctors are regularly checked by a senior doctor
  • helps identify improvements in organisations where doctors work, promoting the overall standard of healthcare.

Our glossary explains the terms used in revalidation.

Our roles and responsibilities page gives an overview of the key roles within the revalidation process.

How it works

Doctors collect examples of their work to understand what they’re doing well and how they can improve. This includes feedback from patients and colleagues, learning from training and any complaints about them.

Every year, doctors review and discuss their work with a specially trained doctor (called an appraiser). They agree a plan for how the doctor can improve and build on what they do well during the next year.

How is this checked?

Experienced senior doctors (called responsible officers / suitable persons) work with us to make sure doctors are reviewing their work. They also receive other information about the doctor’s work from their employer.

If the doctor needs extra support, or if there are any serious problems, they take action to address this straight away. Every five years, the responsible officer tells us whether the doctor is keeping up to date and giving good care. Based on this, we decide if the doctor can keep their licence.

Doctors without a connection to a responsible officer / suitable person follow a similar process with annual appraisals, but also must provide information directly to the GMC, and sit a five-yearly assessment.

The infographic gives an overview of revalidation and describes the main roles and processes involved.

How can patients get involved?

Patents play an important role in revalidation by providing feedback on their doctor’s care.

Our ‘How can patients get involved’ guide covers what patients can do, and provides leaflets and FAQs on giving feedback to doctors.

We recommend patients are given a copy of the leaflet when they’re asked to give feedback about their doctor.

Concerns about a doctor

Revalidation is not a way to raise or address concerns about a doctor’s practice, which should be addressed as soon as they arise. All doctors have a duty to report serious concerns about colleagues in line with our guidance.

What happens if a doctor doesn’t take part in revalidation?

Doctors must engage with the processes that support revalidation and meet the revalidation requirements set out in our guidance to maintain their licence to practise. If they don’t do this, we may take steps to withdraw their licence. Read about the reasons we might withdraw a licence, and the actions doctors can take to avoid this.