In November 2009, the General Medical Council (GMC) issued every doctor with a licence to practise. Since December 2012 the licence to practise is subject to periodic renewal, normally every five years. Doctors must revalidate against their current clinical and/or non-clinical practice, and both the generic and specialist components of their work.

What is revalidation?

Revalidation is based on positive evidence that a doctor remains up-to-date and fit to practise against generic standards set by the GMC and specialist standards set by Colleges and Faculties and the Specialist Societies. The process centres on a revised system of annual appraisal, to which a doctor will bring a range of supporting information relating to the relevant generic and specialist standards. 

Sir Keith Pearson's Review, Taking Revalidation forward, published in January 2017, reported that revalidation is settling in and is beginning to impact on clinical practice, professional behaviour and patient safety. The report also made a number of recommendations including making revalidation more accessible to patients and the public, reducing bureaucracy and supporting those in short-term locum positions.

The GMC published an Action Plan on taking this forward in July 2017. Following on from these recommendations, an updated handbook, Effective clinical governance for the medical profession has been published by the GMC on 1 November 2018. The aim of the handbook is to assist leaders of designated bodies and other organisations, especially in developing and maintaining effectiveness of clinical governance arrangements for doctors and their revalidation.

The role of revalidation

The role of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges in revalidation is to facilitate the work of the medical Royal Colleges and Faculties and to encourage them to share their experience and expertise for the development of revalidation methods. This is done through the Academy Revalidation and Professional Development Committee where the College is represented by Dr Basant Chaudhury.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges published a report, Lay Involvement in Revalidationpublished in December 2017, which sets out the history of how lay representatives are involved in revalidation processes at national, regional and local levels, and how they are being trained. The report shows that there is increasing support for lay involvement in revalidation and that this has benefits to the process.  

In June 2019 the GMC along with eight other healthcare regulators, published a joint statement on the importance and benefits of being a reflective practitioner. The report can be found here.

Contact and support

Dr Basant Chaudhury is the CPD and Revalidation Director for the College. He can be contacted via the College’s revalidation helpdesk.