The General Medical Council (GMC), the regulator responsible for doctors and physicians in the UK, recently announced the number of physicians participating in the newly implemented revalidation process. The proposal and implantation of revalidation for doctors represented the biggest change to medical regulation in more than 150 years. The process means that the UK’s 235,000 licensed doctors must prove continuing competence and fitness to practice. Within the first six months, over 7,500 doctors had their recommendation for revalidation approved by the GMC and it is expected that at least 30,000 will revalidate by the end of the year. The goal is for the vast majority of practicing doctors to complete the initial revalidation process by 2016.
The revalidation system is based on an annual appraisal to which doctors are to bring information about their practice, information about any complaints or compliments from patients as well as any evidence they are keeping up-to-date in their knowledge, skills and abilities. If recommended positively by the Responsible Officer (usually a senior doctor or medical director with responsibility for oversight of their local practitioners), a doctor will be granted revalidation by the GMC.
The UK is the first country in the world to introduce revalidation across its whole healthcare system. The GMC is very pleased with the progress made in the first six months and is confident the revalidation process will continue to ensure patients in the country receive safe and effective care. Niall Dickson, the GMC’s Chief Executive and Registrar noted “Already revalidation has had a real impact on the ground with improvements in hospitals and other settings in the oversight of clinical practice.”