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GMC launches RO revalidation guidance

24 August 2012

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A doctor who has had conditions placed upon them by the General Medical Council (GMC) is not exempt from revalidation, new guidance has said.

According to Making revalidation recommendations: the GMC responsible officer protocol published by the regulator, responsible officers (ROs) must monitor doctors with conditions to ensure their compliance with the GMC-imposed rules.

Revalidation is expected to begin later this year, subject to approval from the Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, and the guidance explains what responsible officers should take into account when deciding what their recommendation should be.

A RO has a choice of three recommendations in revalidating doctors: a positive recommendation that the doctor is up to date and fit to practise; a request to defer the date of your recommendation; and a notification of the doctor’s non-engagement in revalidation.

The guidance has also said the five-yearly cycle of revalidation is “not absolute” and could depend on the “readiness” of doctors during the initial roll out of the process, prolonged absences – such as career breaks or maternity leave.

Under the General Medical Council (Licence to Practise and Revalidation) Regulations 2012 it is claimed the GMC has the power to vary the timing of a doctor’s revalidation.

This means the GMC can alter the revalidation submission date as a response to a request from ROs but also from as a result of their own decision.

For example, the GMC may bring forward the date of a doctor’s revalidation submission date where it is deemed a
doctor is not engaging in the local processes that underpin revalidation.

“We’ve worked with responsible officers from across all four countries of the UK to develop this guidance and make sure it supports them in their role,” said Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the GMC.

“We’re committed to ensuring that the guidance remains a practical and up to date resource, and we will keep the guidance under review once revalidation has been introduced to ensure it remains so.”

GMC guidance has said it does not require ROs to look at each individual piece of supporting information that a doctor collects for their revalidation. It is for ROs to judge the level of detailed information they need to review when considering their recommendation.