FAQs

Q: I’m an academic. How do I revalidate?

The process for academics is the same as for any doctor with a licence to practise. The key difference for academics is that appraisals should follow the Follett principles, and you may be required to undergo a joint appraisal with your university and your designated body. Different arrangements are in place around the UK so you are advised to discuss with these two organisations how your appraisal will work.

 

Q: How will a short career break (for example maternity leave) affect my ability to revalidate?

Your ability to revalidate should not be affected if you take a short career break within a five-year revalidation cycle. Our understanding from the GMC is that you will be expected to revalidate at the usual point in your five-year cycle on the basis of the supporting information you have collected and appraisals that you have attended within this time period. If you have been unable to collect sufficient supporting information for your appraisal, your RO may recommend a deferment of your revalidation to the GMC, in order to allow you to collect additional information.

It is expected that doctors will want to take career breaks within their revalidation cycle, and there is flexibility in the process to manage this. If you do plan a break you should manage your appraisals around that break as far as possible, so that you do not miss an appraisal prior to going on leave. A 'return to work' appraisal may also be required by your employer. Some of the supporting information is required over the five-year cycle, not annually, so again this may be able to be managed around the career break. You should speak to your appraiser and RO to develop an agreed approach. It is advisable to try to keep your CPD in your clinical areas up to date even if you are not actively practising, ie. by attending specialist meetings or using distance learning.

FPH has a policy on return to practice following a break in practise of 9 months or more. You can read more about it here.

 

Q: I have retired from the NHS but continue to work in an independent/or voluntary capacity. Do I need to revalidate?

Retired doctors may continue to work in many different capacities, and it depends upon whether you require a licence to practise to undertake any or all of the work that you do. You should speak to the organisation that you are working or volunteering for to ascertain whether that organisation requires you to hold a licence to practise. If you continue to treat patients you will require a licence.

If you do require a licence, then you will have to revalidate in the same way as all doctors, linking to a designated body and RO, participating in annual appraisal and collating a portfolio of supporting information in relation to the work that you do.

Q: I have retired from active medical practice. If I continue to maintain CPD will that be sufficient for revalidation?

No. If you choose to hold a licence to practise, the GMC requires you to revalidate in the same way as every other doctor by participating in annual appraisal and maintaining a portfolio of supporting information.

If you are retired from clinical practice, it may be that you would wish to relinquish your licence to practise but maintain your registration with the GMC. This means that you do not have to revalidate, and it will show that you remain in good standing with the GMC. This will depend on whether you undertake any activity post-retirement which requires a licence to practise (eg. if you work directly with patients).

Q: I am retiring in less than five years. Do I have to revalidate?

Yes. If you hold a licence to practise in the years leading up to your retirement you will need to revalidate in what you are currently doing, up until the point you retire and relinquish your licence to practise. You should discuss the management of your appraisal and supporting information with your RO if you are retiring before a full five-year cycle.

If you choose to retain your licence to practise in order to undertake practice post-retirement, you will still need to revalidate according to that activity.

Q: I do not have a connection to a designated body. What should I do?

If you are in this situation, you should make the GMC aware of your circumstances by updating your details using your GMC online account and stating that you do not have a designated body.

Q: I don’t have a Prescribed Connection. Can I get a Suitable Person via the GMC?

If you have fully explored the GMC tool to find your connection for revalidation and cannot connect to a designated body, it is important that you let the GMC know.

Q: I only work part time. How will this affect my revalidation?

You will be expected to revalidate in the same way as full-time doctors, including participating in annual appraisal and collecting supporting information in relation to the practice that you do.

Q: I work exclusively in a non-clinical role. How do I revalidate?

If you hold a licence to practise, you will revalidate in the same way as doctors in clinical roles, and the supporting information you bring to appraisal will reflect your non-clinical role.

The GMC states that if you want to continue to hold a licence to practise, then you will need to revalidate like every other doctor who is licensed. However, you may not need a licence to practise if you don’t carry out any clinical practice. If this is the case, you have the option of giving up your licence but maintaining your registration with the GMC. 

If the type of activity that you are involved in could be 'related to patient care', you will need to confirm with your employing organisation whether you require a licence to practise. The term ‘practice’ refers to your professional work, clinical or non-clinical. This may include work with little or no patient contact; for example:

  • Interaction by correspondence, such as giving advice by telephone, email or letter 
  • Requests for insurance medicals 
  • Medico-legal work 
  • Review of articles for a medical/specialty journals
  • Clinical-skills lecturing.

Q: What happens if I don’t work in the NHS?

Revalidation is based on maintaining your licence to practice, not your employing organisation. Regardless of employer, if you wish to retain your licence to practise, you will still be required to revalidate. Please use the GMC tool to find your connection for revalidation.

Q: What if I am not in active public health practice, but maintain professional registration?

If you wish to maintain your licence to practise, the requirements are the same as for any other doctor.

Q: My designated body does not offer appraisal. How can I get access to an appraisal? 

If your designated body does not offer appraisal, there are external organisations who offer appraisal services. It is the responsibility of each doctor to arrange their appraisal. Independent organisations may not conduct appraisals.

The Independent Doctors Federation has appointed an RO for doctors without a prescribed connection to an NHS RO. The Federation of Independent Practitioner Organisations also offers an appraisal service.

Q. I am a trainee. Do I still need to revalidate?

Doctors in training will revalidate by meeting the requirements of their UK training programme. The GMC then makes a revalidation decision based on the recommendation from the Responsible Officer (RO) of their training body.

 

Q: Does revalidation affect my specialist registration or GMC registration if I practice outside the UK?

No. Revalidation is required to maintain a licence to practice in the UK only. It is not required to maintain GMC registration or specialist registration. 

There is an option for doctors in some situations (eg. working abroad) to relinquish their licence to practise and therefore not revalidate, but remain registered with the GMC and maintain their entry on the specialist register. This provides confirmation that their qualifications have been recognised and that they are in good standing with the GMC. Your licence can be reinstated if and when circumstances change.   

The specialist register is a historical document recording the specialties in which you have trained. If you no longer work in the specialty for which you were originally listed on the register you will not lose your registration if your revalidation is based on supporting information from practice in another field. Revalidation is not about demonstrating that you are up to date in that registered specialty (in which you trained), but that you are up to date and fit to practice in your current fields and across your scope of work.

As a specialist, you will need to continue to meet the existing requirements, and this will be evident through the detail of the supporting information that you provide at appraisal.

Q: What if I work wholly outside the UK?

We have confirmed with the GMC that doctors who are based exclusively overseas do not need a licence to practise in the UK. The licence to practise gives doctors legal rights and privileges in the UK that do not apply in any overseas country. Doctors who are based overseas must abide by whatever regulatory requirements exist in the country in which they practise.

Non-UK organisations should therefore not require their doctors to hold a UK licence to practise. You can remain registered with the GMC and maintain your entry on the specialist register without a licence. This provides confirmation that your qualifications have been recognised and that you are considered in good standing with the UK regulator. You can relinquish your licence to practise whilst working abroad and reinstate it on return to the UK. Once your licence is restored, you would need to link to a designated body, participate in annual appraisal in the UK and provide supporting information in line with guidance. Any relevant information gathered while working abroad, as well as evidence of on-going CPD, should be brought to your first appraisal on return to the UK. More information about giving up and restoring your licence is available from the GMC website.

If you choose to continue to hold your licence while practising abroad, you will have to revalidate in the same way as doctors practising in the UK and link to a UK designated body. If your employer or contractor is based within the UK it may be that they will be able to provide you with a link to a RO, and you should discuss your revalidation with them at the earliest opportunity.

If you have not already done so, you should confirm your current circumstances with the GMC through your GMC online account, so that the GMC can provide you with appropriate advice.

Q: I only work for periods of time outside the UK. How will this affect my ability to revalidate?

It should be possible for you to collect supporting information, participate in appraisals and link to a RO through your practice in the UK. You should discuss management of your appraisal and supporting information (including additional supporting information to demonstrate your practice abroad) whilst in the UK with your RO and appraiser.

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