Revalidation - what to expect

Every doctor now has to revalidate in order to continue practising clinical medicine. What does this mean for foundation and ST1 trainees? Caroline Smith from NW Thames Foundation School explains the essentials.

Revalidation is the General Medical Council's (GMC) new system of regulating licensed doctors which was rolled out across the UK at the end of 2012. Licensed doctors, including those in foundation year two and specialty training will have to revalidate, usually every five years and again, after receiving a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT).

Local Education and Training Boards (LETBs) are committed to helping postgraduate doctors to revalidate by providing as much information and support as possible and they will provide you with regular updates, advice and details of resources available.

What is the purpose of revalidation?

Revalidation is designed to give patients greater confidence in their doctors and support clinicians to maintain and improve their practice.

What do I need to do for this process?

If you are meeting the requirements of your curriculum and have regular meetings with your educational supervisor, there's an excellent chance that you will produce much or all of the evidence you need to revalidate as a matter of course during your training.

Specialty trainees (as well as foundation year two doctors) will need to complete an enhanced Form R each year which includes a declaration of health and probity. You will also be asked whether you have been involved in any ongoing complaints or serious incidents which have been investigated or significant events over the last year. The GMC defines a significant event (also known as an untoward or critical incident) as any unintended or unexpected event, which could or did lead to harm of one or more patients. This includes incidents which did not cause harm but could have done, or events that should have been prevented and are significant enough to be investigated by your employing organisation. Remember that only incomplete and ongoing investigations should be recorded on Form R. If an incident has been fully investigated and the outcome and reflective practice logged fully in your e-portfolio, then there is no need to log this on the Form R as well.

What role does my employer have in my revalidation?

Your trust or employer will send an Exit Report to your LETB to inform the revalidation process through your ARCP (Annual Review of Competence Progression). It will include any unresolved concerns about a trainee’s conduct, involvement in serious untoward incidents or complaints. If you have been involved in any such incidents, it's important to discuss it with your educational supervisor and reflect on the outcome in your e-portfolio as part of the normal educational appraisal process.

If you have engaged with the revalidation process through your annual appraisals and have also provided satisfactory Form Rs over the five year period, it is likely that the Responsible Officer for your LETB will make a positive recommendation to the GMC when the time comes for you to revalidate. You will receive formal notification of your revalidation decision from the GMC.

Time out of training and revalidation.

If you take a break from the training programme with the approval of your LETB (meaning that you do not give up your training number), then your revalidation date and prescribed connection will remain the same, and you do not need to do anything else.

Further information.

GMC's FAQs for doctors in training

Caroline Smith FRCS FCEM
Foundation School Director, 
North West Thames Foundation School

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