What is 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 licensed doctors in the UK working in the NHS and the private sector and all branches of practice. Doctors will need to meet the standards set by the GMC, taking into account guidance for their specialty, to maintain their license to practice.
Standards for General Practitioners are set by the Royal College of General Practitioners, based on the GMC requirements.
This page includes general advice on preparing for revalidation, including some specific issues which apply to different branches of practice.
How will revalidation work ?
- 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 5 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
Read our guide on Responsible Officers and how to find yours
Having an annual appraisal is essential
An annual appraisal and supporting evidence are key to demonstrating your fitness to practise whatever your branch of practice as well as a key opportunity to focus on your professional development needs.
These processes are based on:
Good Medical Practice (GMC)
Appraisal framework (GMC)
All doctors will need to provide the following types of supporting information at appraisal, for the whole of their practice, over the course of their revalidation cycle:
- Continuing professional development (CPD)
- Quality improvement activity
- Significant events
- Feedback from colleagues
- Feedback from patients (where applicable)
- Review of complaints and compliments
Consider what information you will have access to and start thinking about what you could include in your portfolio.
- Log any CPD activity, collect evidence from courses attended and any teaching or research work
- Log and document details of any complaints, along with relevant explanations and resolution
- Collect clinical audit data relating to you and your department
CPD and a review of complaints will need to be provided at every appraisal, whilst the other types of information will be required less frequently. Employers have a responsibility to ensure that their governance systems can generate accurate and timely outcomes data for doctors to include in their supporting information.
Read our advice on having an appraisal
Some more key appraisal points to note:
Career grades - secondary care
Read our model policy on appraisal
It sets out hospital trust policy for conducting annual appraisals if you are a consultant, SAS or other type of doctor employed by a Trust, including those of you with sessional, part-time or temporary contracts.
Doctors in training
Read our guidance for doctors in training
Ensure you are having an effective Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP) or Record of In-Training Assessment (RITA) every year as this will be a critical part of the revalidation process. Even if you do not progress through your ARCP or RITA for educational reasons, this will not necessarily impact on your revalidation.
Read our guidance for clinical academics
The BMA and the Universities and Colleges Employers Association (UCEA) have agreed a version of guidance for doctors in secondary care in England specifically for clinical academics, to help ensure their appraisal process complies with Follett Review Principles, including a model appraisal form.
Doctors employed by another trust
If you main employer is another NHS Trust, or you have an honorary contract with the Trust, your appraisal should be at your main employer.
The designated body who employs you when your appraisal is due is responsible for appraising you, irrespective of how long you have held a position within the Trust.
Find out what we are doing to make revalidation fair and proportionate for all doctors
Not currently getting an annual appraisal?
Having a problem with the process?
Have any questions?
Call the BMA on 0300 123 1233
What resources are needed to support the process ?
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.
The BMA is also working to ensure that appropriate funding is in place to allow GPs additional time to take part in the process.
Will doctors have to pay for revalidation ?
No, you should not need to pay for your revalidation.
The GMC is not charging doctors to revalidate. It has recently announced that it has frozen the annual registration fee for 2013-2014 for the second year running.
While the Responsible Officer regulations state that some designated bodies, such as locum agencies, are able to charge doctors 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 will not have to pay to revalidate and that all the costs of revalidation should be borne by the employer.
What is the revalidation timetable ?
On 3 December 2012, the Secretary of State for Health confirmed the implementation of revalidation across the UK and the relevant regulations came into force.
The first revalidation cycle will occur in stages. The GMC expects to revalidate:
- the majority of responsible officers and other medical leaders by March 2013
- about a fifth of licensed doctors between April 2013 and the end of March 2014
- the majority of licensed doctors by the end of March 2016
- all remaining licensed doctors by the end of March 2018.
The GMC was expected to contact all doctors before the end of 2012 to confirm their revalidation date.
What types of doctor will revalidate first ?
A broad range of doctors will undergo revalidation in the first instance. The initial roll-out will not just focus on doctors in managed environments - others such as locums and those working in the independent sector will also be included.
Will there be a nationally funded IT system to support revalidation?
There are separate arrangements in each nation:
- In England there will not be a standard, unified national computerised system for appraisal and information management.
- In Scotland, the SOAR electronic platform is being developed to accommodate appraisal documentation from both primary and secondary care doctors, including any additional specialist College and Faculty portfolios. While either paper or electronic presentation of secondary care appraisal documentation will be accepted initially, the SGHSCD’s intention is to move to an electronic web-based only submission in the future, with SOAR the “final common pathway” for all appraisal documentation in NHS Scotland.
- In Northern Ireland, various models are being considered including the SOAR system.
- In Wales there is a single unified electronic system called the Medical Appraisal and Revalidation System (MARS) which is available for all doctors.