The UK uses the GMC register to ensure everyone who works in the NHS is fully licenced and fit to practise medicine. Getting on the register as an IMG may take some time – you have to complete the necessary training, qualifications, and of course, complete the application. That’s not the end of it, though. Even after you’ve been accepted onto the GMC register and started practising medicine in the UK, you will need to revalidate it every five years.
The GMC requires all those on the GMC register to revalidate their licence every five years, making staying on the register an ongoing process. This is called GMC revalidation and is a process that involves proving to the GMC that you still meet the correct standards to work as a doctor in the UK. To prove this, you will need to collect appraisals during your career.
The cost of the GMC revalidation is as follows:
Annual retention fee for registration with a license to practice: £433
Annual retention fee for registration without a license to practice: £155
Revalidation annual return fee for doctors without a designated body: £277
Revalidation assessment for doctors without a designated body: £1,224
An appraisal is a meeting between you and a colleague (who acts as an appraiser). It’s a yearly reviewing process where you take all the feedback you’ve collected throughout the year and go over it. The feedback will be from both colleagues and patients.
It’s not just reading and talking through the feedback that’s important – it’s about how you respond to it. The purpose of the appraisal is for you to reflect on the feedback – both good and bad – so that it can help you in your professional development. During the review, you will also discuss previous appraisals and how you made changes to grow in your career.
These appraisals are critical for your revalidation process, as you will use them as evidence to show that you are fit to practice medicine in the UK.
Before we jump in to exploring the revalidation process our director, Tom, explains more in this video:
There are three slightly different routes for the revalidation process – it depends on whether you have a designated body. We have listed all three ways below.
Your designated body is the organisation which gives you regular appraisals and helps with revalidation, in most cases this will be your employer. If you have a designated body, you will need to log in to GMC online to ensure your designated body is correct. If it has changed, you must amend it to your current one.
During your career, you must collect information that you will later use at the appraisal. This information should include the following:
You will attend an appraisal each year and reflect on all the information gathered.
Lastly, you send the evidence of your appraisals to GMC, who will then decide on whether to renew your GMC license.
If you don’t have a designated body, you can use a suitable person instead.
If you’re using a suitable person for your revalidation process, you must update the connection on the GMC online. This person should be a licenced doctor – you can use someone who already acts as a suitable person or ask a relevant doctor to become one.
This part is the same as route one – collect information throughout your career, such as feedback and health declarations.
Attend your appraisal, reflecting on the information gathered.
Just as you did in route one, you will send evidence to the GMC, who will make their decision on your revalidation.
There’s a chance you will have no connection, this is quite common for IMGs who are not in the UK yet but have joined the GMC register. The best route to take in this case is to talk to the GMC and explain your situation as they will be able to advise you of the best route to take. Often they will either postpone your initial appraisal due date or they may advise you to leave the register and be reinstated later if it will be a long time before you are practising in the UK. However, you can still do the process without a connection.
As you have no connection, you will need to update that on your GMC account.
Again, you must collect all the necessary information to take to the appraisal.
For your appraisal, you must find someone who:
This person can do your appraisal with you.
As you have no suitable person or designated body, the GMC may request that you sit a test.
These three routes only have slight differences – no matter which route you choose, you’ll still need to attend yearly appraisals and submit the evidence to the GMC. If you’re concerned about the process, keep in mind that medical organisations in the UK must offer support and resources for the revalidation process, so you won’t be expected to do it all alone. Of course, you will still be responsible for collecting the evidence and going through with the revalidation process, so make sure you don’t forget throughout the year.
Doing the GMC revalidation process is essential; if you do not engage with the process, you put your license at risk.
From the perspective of the GMC, revalidation is necessary because it proves that all UK doctors are continually fit to practise. By obtaining up-to-date knowledge, they can confirm that all the doctors on the GMC register can provide a good level of care to patients.
Some UK doctors decide to leave the UK. That is an option; in this situation, you might decide not to keep your GMC license. You can always keep up with registration if you want to go back to it in the future.
GMC revalidation is a necessary step for all IMGs wanting to maintain their GMC registration and work in the UK as a doctor. It happens every five years, but you must collect evidence from yearly appraisals during that time. By learning from feedback and always developing in your career, you shouldn’t have any issues with keeping your licence!
In the next article, we will cover how to restore your GMC licence.
If you’re unsure about how to revalidate or what you need to do next then let us know and one of the team will be happy to point you in the direction of further resources.
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