Supporting Doctors Improving Patient Care

What is appraisal?

Appraisal is about helping individuals to improve the way they work and the services they provide, themselves and with others. Appraisal goes beyond simply judging individuals on what they have achieved over the past year. It offers a framework for planned, constructive, professional dialogue. It provides the opportunity for reflection about current performance and progress. This is used as a platform to set goals for future professional practice and development which will also contribute to the needs of the organisation in which the individual works.

Appraisal should therefore be a positive, constructive process which is mutually beneficial to both the individuals being appraised and also to the organisation in which they work. In addition to the above the aim of appraisals now being introduced now is to provide a report to the responsible officer or body in lieu of the RO, upon which a recommendation to the GMC can be made as to the practitioner’s fitness to practice.

What is revalidation?

Revalidation is the process by which licensed doctors are required to demonstrate on a regular basis that they are up to date and fit to practise in the UK. Revalidation aims to give extra confidence to patients that their doctor is being regularly checked by their employer and the General Medical Council. The GMC is the regulatory authority with the responsibility for overseeing and maintaining standards of revalidation.

How will I revalidate?

If you are a licensed doctor you will usually revalidate every five years. However, revalidation is an ongoing process. You must have an annual appraisal based on the GMC’s core guidance for doctors, Good Medical Practice. You have to collect supporting information about your whole practice and reflect on this with your appraiser.

We have information about appraisal requirements here.

When will I revalidate?

Revalidation started on 3 December 2012. For the majority of licensed doctors. If you were on the register at this time, your first revalidation will be sometime between April 2013 and March 2016. The majority of licensed doctors will revalidate once every five years.

You can check your date in the ‘My revalidation’ section of your GMC Online account.

What is my designated body (DB)?

This is the organisation that supports you with your appraisal and revalidation. You only have one designated body, regardless of how many organisations you may be employed by or contract with. Only UK organisations can be DBs, because the legal rules that determine this only cover the UK.

If you need help establishing who your DB is, you can contact us on for further information.

You can find the name of your designated body in your GMC Online account, if you have one. Remember, you must keep your designated body information up to date, including telling us if you no longer have a connection.

If you need further help, please contact us for further information.

What is a Responsible Officer?

Your Responsible Officer is likely to be the medical director of the organisation that is supporting you with your appraisal and revalidation. This organisation is called your designated body. The GMC will revalidate you based on a recommendation that they receive from your Responsible Officer.

What is a Suitable Person?

A suitable person is a licensed doctor approved by the GMC as suitable to make a revalidation recommendation about a doctor’s fitness to practise.

A Suitable Person performs the same revalidation functions as a Responsible Officer and is responsible for:

overseeing the evaluation of fitness to practise, and monitoring the conduct and performance of doctors

ensuring that there are systems and processes in place locally to support doctors in their revalidation, such as annual appraisals

making recommendations to the GMC about the revalidation of doctors who have an approved connection to them.

If you need further help, please contact us for further information and assistance on establishing your relationship with a Suitable Person or Responsible Officer within MSU.

Do I have to revalidate?

If you hold a licence to practice, then you will need to revalidate.

I work wholly outside the UK. How will I revalidate?

If you’re not working in the UK the GMC recommends you consider giving up your licence to practice. This is because the legal privileges associated with holding a licence only apply to the UK. You do not need a licence to work in other countries.

You can still remain registered without a licence. This shows that your medical qualification is still recognised by the GMC and you are in good standing with the council. You’ll also pay a reduced annual retention fee and you won’t have to revalidate.

If you return to practice in on the UK, you can apply to have your licence restored.

The process to give up and restore your licence is straight forward. You can find more information about giving up and restoring your licence on the GMC website.

If you wish to keep your licence, then you will need to meet the same requirement for revalidation as every other licensed doctor.

If you have a connection to a designated body (designated bodies can only be UK based organisations) or a Suitable Person, you should speak to them about your revalidation. If you don’t have a connection, you can contact us about about how you will revalidate.

I hold a licence but I don’t do any clinical practice. How will I revalidate?

If you don’t carry out any clinical practice or need a licence for your work, you may decide you don’t need your licence. You can give up your licence but remain registered. This shows that your medical qualification is recognised and you are in good standing with the GMC. You’ll also pay a reduced annual retention fee and you won’t have to revalidate.

The process to give up and restore your licence is straight forward. There is more information about giving up and restoring your licence on the GMC website.

If you wish to keep your licence, then you will need to meet the same requirement for revalidation as every other licensed doctor.

If you have a connection to a designated body (designated bodies can only be UK based organisations) or a Suitable Person, you should speak to them about your revalidation.

If you need further help, please contact us for further information and assistance on revalidation.

I do not have a prescribed connection to a designated body or a Suitable Person. How do I revalidate?

Detailed guidance is available on the GMC website about revalidation for doctors who do not have a connection. If you need further help, please contact us for further information and assistance on revalidation.

Do I need a specific number of hours or credits to meet the GMC’s requirements for revalidation?

Currently, the GMC do not require doctors to have a specific number of hours or credits of continuing professional development (CPD). As the regulator, they are interested in the impact of doctors’ learning and development and how that learning contributes to improving patient safety and the quality of care provided by doctors and the teams in which they work.

GMC’s have published a guidance booklet, Continuing professional development: guidance for all doctors to help doctors reflect on how they fulfil their professional duty to keep their knowledge and skills up to date throughout their working lives.

How much CPD someone needs, and what CPD activities are appropriate, will be different for each doctor. For this reason the GMC have not set a specific number of CPD credits or hours as a requirement for revalidation or attempted to prescribe the content of doctors’ CPD activities.

However, it is understood that other organisations, such as the medical royal colleges and faculties, offer guidance on how doctors should carry out CPD relevant to their specialties. Many of these organisations also offer credit based schemes that require doctors to complete a specified number of hours of CPD. Many doctors find this useful. These systems may provide doctors with a valuable way to demonstrate at their appraisals that they are participating in CPD in line with expected practice in their specialty.

You can read more about why the GMC have not specified hours/credits for CPD in their report on consultation on their role in Continuing Professional Development. You can find more information about how they have developed their outcomes-based approach to CPD in the final report of Review of the GMC’s Role in Doctors’ Continuing Professional Development.

I’m a locum using my own ‘umbrella’ company. Is my prescribed connection to the organisation that contracts my services through my company?

No. If you contract indirectly with an organisation by providing your services as a locum through your own company, this does not mean that you have a prescribed connection to that organisation.

You may have a prescribed connection to a designated body elsewhere, for example, if you are also employed in the NHS or the private healthcare sector. If you have used the GMC’s online tool and it appears that you do not have a connection to a designated body, you need to:

Log on to GMC Online through their website. If you don’t already have one you can set up a new GMC Online account.

Click on the ‘My revalidation’ tab

Click on the ‘I don’t have a designated body’ button. Provide some information about what you do and where you work. This will help us to provide you with more advice.

The GMC have detailed guidance on their website about revalidation for doctors who do not have a connection.

We acknowledge the GMC for providing the details for these FAQs.