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Introduction to revalidation

Revalidation is the process for doctors to positively affirm to the General Medical Council (GMC) that they are up to date and fit to practice.

It applies to all licenced doctors in the UK working in the NHS and the private sector and all branches of practice. Doctors need to meet the standards set by the GMC, taking into account guidance for their specialty, to maintain their licence to practice.

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  • doctors take part in a robust appraisal process and collate a portfolio of evidence to show they meet the necessary standards
  • revalidation runs over a five-year cycle - doctors will need to revalidate only once in the cycle
  • each doctor relates to Responsible Officer who assesses their portfolio and reports back to the GMC on the doctor's fitness to practise


Time and cost

The GMC does not charge doctors to revalidate. You should not need to pay for your revalidation. In certain circumstances, such as for doctors with no prescribed connection to a designated body or an eligible Suitable Person, the GMC will offer an alternative route for revalidation, for which they do charge administrative fees.

While the Responsible Officer regulations state that some non-NHS designated bodies, such as locum agencies, are able to charge doctors reasonable costs for supporting them with revalidation, NHS organisations should not be doing this.

We have been informed that one Trust in England asked SAS doctors to make a contribution towards the cost of revalidation. This is contrary to national guidance on revalidation which clearly states that doctors do not have to pay to revalidate and that all the costs of revalidation should be borne by the employer.

Doctors will need extra time and support to undertake the process. The Royal Colleges estimate that secondary care doctors will require 1.5 SPAs per week, not including study leave. It is important that this is reflected in job plans. We are continuing to press for accurate and timely outcomes data for consultants and individual, personalised workload and outcome data for SAS doctors and to see an improvement in the appraisal rates for SAS doctors. We are also working to ensure that appropriate funding is in place to allow GPs additional time to take part in the process. 


Seven principles

Seven principles of revalidation
There must be a clear mechanism for dealing with conflicts of interest with responsible officers, including an appeals process with an independent scrutineer
Remediation must be fully funded to ensure equality across branches of practice
Medical royal college standards for recertification must be equitable, fair and proportionate
Knowledge tests should form no part in assessing fitness to practise, whether as part of the GMC's generic standards for relicensing or in college standards for recertification; any multisource feedback system must be validated
The introduction of revalidation must be cost-effective and not put undue strain on the NHS
Pilots must run independently and be fully evaluated, with the results published and fed into subsequent pilot stages
There must be equality of opportunity to revalidate



Get help from the BMA

We are already helping members by:

  • negotiating employer appraisal policies to ensure they reflect national requirements
  • helping doctors secure an appraisal and access to a Responsible Officer
  • advising on how to manage conflicts of interest

Need help now? Call 0300 123 1233