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Medical revalidation of doctors to start in December

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Medical revalidation, the process by which all doctors who are licensed with the General Medical Council (GMC) will regularly demonstrate that…

Medical revalidation, the process by which all doctors who are licensed with the General Medical Council (GMC) will regularly demonstrate that they are up to date and fit to practise, will start in December, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt announced today.

The system will help doctors keep up to the standard expected of them by ensuring they stay up-to-date with the latest techniques, technologies and research. Revalidation will also require a doctor to tackle any concerns about skills such as communication and maintaining trust with patients.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:

“We want to have the best survival rates in Europe for the major killer diseases. Doctors save lives every day and making sure they are up to speed with the latest treatments and technologies will help them save even more. This is why a proper system of revalidation is so important.” 

Medical revalidation will normally happen every five years and will apply to all doctors in all settings in the UK - including doctors working as locums and in the private sector. Doctors will undergo annual appraisals based on the requirements of the GMC’s core guidance Good Medical Practice.

A responsible officer, who is usually the medical director, will make sure that doctors have access to a good quality annual appraisal and that any issues from that appraisal are addressed. They will also review evidence from those appraisals and make a recommendation to the GMC about the doctor’s continuing fitness to practise every five years. This evidence must include examples of quality improvement activity, any significant events, feedback from colleagues and patients and a review of any complaints and compliments from patients.

The decision regarding renewal of a doctor’s licence to practise will be made by the GMC.

Professor Sir Peter Rubin, Chair of the GMC, said:

“This is an historic day for patients and for the medical profession. We are confident that the introduction of revalidation will make a major contribution to the quality of care that patients receive and will give them valuable assurance that the doctors who treat them are regularly assessed against our professional standards.” 

The Department of Health has worked extensively with the GMC, the Royal Colleges, employers, patients’ groups and the British Medical Association to ensure that the revalidation strikes the right balance and does not take up a disproportionate amount of a doctor’s time. The GMC will work with employers to implement and manage the system.

The new system has undergone an extensive programme of testing and piloting, involving more than 4,000 doctors.

An independent Pathfinder Pilot Evaluation Report was published inJuly 2011.