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What is revalidation?

Revalidation is a process of the General Medical Council (GMC) for those who wish to retain their licence to practise as doctors/specialists.

The vast majority of public health professionals are practising to a high standard. Revalidation should be a process that will support continuous quality improvement in standards and practice for both public health professionals and the public alike.

Revalidation is a five-year cycle based on strengthened appraisal, held annually. The appraisal meetings should be based on a discussion of evidence provided against the four domains in The Good Medical Practice Framework for appraisal and revalidation

The framework sets out the principles and values on which good practice is founded and all doctors, regardless of specialty, are expected to be able to meet these principles and values. 

There is not a separate framework for revalidation in public health as revalidation is based on meeting GMP. To support all public health professionals, regardless of their training background, FPH has produced specialty-specific guidance for revalidation. 

This process is governed by the GMC, and it is a requirement for all doctors (wishing to retain a licence to practise) in the UK, as set out by law. Please note that this is a UK-wide process based on local arrangements. For further information about your local process please contact your responsible officer (RO). 

Faculty of Public Health role in revalidation

FPH has two roles in GMC revalidation.  

1. The first is to offer 'speciality guidance' on the particularities of public health practice.  To support this function, FPH has a small number of trained advisors. Their role will be to provide generic advice to appraisers, ROs and members on the specialty and the revalidation process. 

2. Most public health doctors will revalidate through their employer (trust, board, health authority or agency or similar). For a small number of public health doctors, FPH is itself their designated body for revalidation; this is the second role of FPH. For these doctors FPH will support them in their revalidation which includes allocating suitably trained appraisers to carry out annual appraisals, access to guidance and access to a Responsible Officer (RO) who makes a recommendation to the GMC. 

If you believe that you will revalidate through FPH, please use the GMC algorithm online tool to help you determine who your prescribed connection should be to. For further advice please email

GMC revalidation timeline

Revalidation began in December 2012 and the GMC set out the following timeline for the number of doctors to be revalidated in the first revalidation cycle

Year 0 December 2012 to March 2013: All ROs and other medical leaders to be revalidated to the GMC 

Year 1 April 2013 to March 2014: First RO recommendations (20% of doctors) submitted to the GMC 

Year 2 April 2014 to March 2015: Second tranche of recommendations (60% of doctors) submitted to the GMC 

Year 3 April 2015 to March 2016: Third tranche of recommendations (majority of doctors) submitted to the GMC 

End of March 2018: All remaining licensed doctors. End of first cycle 

April 2018: Second revalidation cycle begins.

Revalidation and retirement

The General Medical Council has worked with the British Medical Association Retired Doctors Forum to produce the leaflet Revalidation for Retired Doctors  explaining the revalidation requirements to doctors retiring or thinking of retiring. 

Relinquishing your licence to practice

Doctors wishing to retain their UK Licence to Practice are legally required to participate in revalidation. There may be some circumstances in which a doctor may decide to relinquish their Licence to Practice, perhaps the doctor is working abroad exclusively, taking a career break or may be doing work which does not require a Licence to Practice.

If a doctor chooses to relinquish their Licence to Practice they would remain on the GMC’s main register and Specialist register (where applicable) but without the licence to practice. 

The Licence to Practice can be restored if it is needed at some point in the future as and when the doctor returns to practice. The GMC has given assurances that this is a relatively straightforward administrative process. After the Licence to Practice has been restored the doctor will then be slotted back into the revalidation cycle. More information about giving up and restoring your licence is available via:  

Your membership of the Faculty of Public Health will not be affected if you choose to relinquish your Licence to Practice with the GMC. 

Responding to concerns and remediation

NHS Revalidation Support Team document on responding to concerns 

London Deanery Professional support unit.

FPH policies on Responding to Concerns About A Doctor’s Practice and Remediation, Retraining and Rehabilitation can also be found on this website.  

Revalidation to the UKPHR

The UK Public Health Register (UKPHR) continues with its five yearly re-registration. Meanwhile, plans for the revalidation of its registrants are being considered by UKPHR. The latest news on revalidation for public health specialists registered with the UK Public Health Register UKPHR can be found here

Links to GMC guidance


GMC algorithm online tool

Revalidation for Retired Doctors  

Further information

More information on revalidation can be found on the following websites:

General Medical Council 

UK Public Health Register

NHS England

NHS Wales

NHS Scotland 

Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland 


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