Revalidation plan could reduce burden on doctors, says BMA

Authors: Abi Rimmer 

Publication date:  21 Jul 2017

A plan by the General Medical Council to improve revalidation could make the process less burdensome for doctors, the BMA has said.

On 20 July the GMC published a plan[1] to implement the recommendations made by Keith Pearson’s report, Taking Revalidation Forward, which was published earlier this year.[2] In that report Pearson, chair of Health Education England and the GMC’s revalidation advisory board, said that more should be done to make clear what are and what are not mandatory parts of the revalidation process.[3]

Chaand Nagpaul, the new chair of BMA council, said that the plan was “an opportunity to reduce the burden that revalidation imposes on doctors . . . In particular, we want to see implementation of the recommendation that local organisations should not use revalidation as a lever to achieve objectives beyond the GMC’s revalidation requirements.”

Pearson said in his report that he had heard concerns from doctors and royal colleges about employers adding requirements for appraisal or revalidation that went beyond those specified by the GMC.

He wrote, “I have been given examples of doctors being asked to carry out specific numbers or types of clinical audits; attend generic training courses; use specific templates or obtain fixed numbers of continuing professional development points before they can be revalidated. These are not requirements for revalidation.”

The GMC said that the plan included a commitment to provide clearer guidance for doctors and responsible officers on what is required from them for revalidation by March 2018. Medical royal colleges and faculties will also update their guidance on revalidation to clarify GMC requirements.

The plan also commits the GMC and others to strengthening the revalidation process for doctors working in multiple settings and to offer more specific advice on how doctors should gather feedback from colleagues to include in their portfolio.

The Department of Health in England will lead a review of the responsible officer regulations to establish a connection to a designated body for some groups of doctors that do not ordinarily have one, the GMC said. The department will also make sure that only organisations with robust governance arrangements can oversee a doctor’s revalidation.

The plan has been agreed by the newly established Revalidation Oversight Group, which includes representatives of stakeholder organisations throughout the UK, as well as the GMC itself.


  1. General Medical Council. GMC publishes action plan to improve revalidation. 20 July 2017. [Link] .
  2. General Medical Council. Taking revalidation forward: Improving the process of relicensing for doctors. Jan 2017. [Link] .
  3. Rimmer A. Employers should not add management objectives to revalidation process, GMC says. BMJ Careers 13 Jan 2017. [Link] .

Abi Rimmer BMJ Careers

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