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Revalidation for Surgeons

Revalidation is the process through which all doctors must demonstrate to the General Medical Council (GMC) that they possess up-to-date clinical knowledge and skills and are fit to practise.

Since its launch in December 2012, revalidation is now a legal requirement for all doctors, underpinned by dedicated legislation called the Medical Professional (Responsible Officers) (Amendment) Regulations 2013.

The purpose of revalidation is to promote patient safety and improve the quality of patient care. It is also intended to strengthen continuing professional development and reinforce systems that identify doctors who encounter difficulties and may require additional support.

Revalidation is based on an evaluation of a doctors' performance through annual appraisal in line with guidance and advice produced by the GMC. Doctors are expected to provide a core set of supporting information over each revalidation cycle at appraisal. The information from the appraisal will be assessed by a responsible officer who will then make a revalidation recommendation to the GMC, normally every five years.

For full details on the revalidation process please read our Revalidation Guide to Surgery It brings together key information on the revalidation process and provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on surgical revalidation.

The College's role in revalidation

The College, as part of the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges and together with the UK Surgical Colleges, has contributed to the development of specialty guidance and documentation to enable physicians and surgeons to tailor supporting information to reflect their particular specialty.

In the next few years, we will continue to offer ongoing support to our members.

Preparing for revalidation

Key things you need to know and do:

  • Know your designated body (usually your employing NHS Board or Trust)
  • Know your responsible officer (based in your designated body, often the Medical Director)
  • Set up your GMC online account

Some doctors, in particular those not attached to a health authority or those in private practise, might not yet have a designated body and responsible officer identified and may require assistance in doing so. In these circumstances, the GMC has established the role of suitable person, whereby a suitably qualified and experienced person can assume this responsibility. In most instances this person will be an existing responsible officer or a person within a designated body whose role is similar to that of a responsible officer. This arrangement will allow the doctor to engage in local systems and proceed with revalidation. It should be noted that a doctor may be charged by the suitable person to undertake this role. To read more about the criteria for and role of suitable persons visit the GMC website.

Support and guidance

The standards and general requirements for revalidation are set by the GMC. We encourage you to familiarise yourself with the following GMC documents:

Our guidance on supporting information supplements the GMC guidance and provides additional specific advice and examples for surgery. We have also developed a two-page checklist that provides a summary of all requirements for surgical revalidation:

The College has established a helpdesk to respond to all queries related to appraisal and revalidation. In order to ensure that these enquiries are properly recorded and responded to appropriately, members are asked to submit questions via a dedicated helpdesk email address

Queries of a process or procedural nature will be responded to by College administrative support staff. To respond to queries of a clinical nature, the College has established a Revalidation and Relicensing Board (RRB), comprising Fellows from the range of medical and surgical specialties.

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