Education And Debate

Revalidation in the UK

BMJ 2005; 330 doi: (Published 12 May 2005) Cite this as: BMJ 2005;330:1145
  1. Zosia Kmietowicz, freelance journalist (
  1. 1London N16 7QJ


    Revalidation was first proposed by the General Medical Council in 1998 as a way to win back the trust of the British public after a series of medical scandals. The GMC, which regulates UK doctors, said it would ensure that all of the UK's 200 000 doctors were up to date and fit to practise. For the first time every competent doctor in the UK would be issued with a licence to practise. And every five years they would be required to prove that they had kept up to date and continued to perform to required standards or lose their licence.1

    Why revalidation was needed

    In the past the GMC has taken a reactive rather then proactive approach to doctors' performance. It followed up complaints made against doctors but did not routinely check competence. Deficiencies in the way the GMC regulated doctors came to light in 1995 after concerns emerged about three doctors running the paediatric cardiac service at Bristol Royal Infirmary.2 The GMC began discussing ways of modernising its methods, although revalidation was not universally accepted at first.

    Two high profile cases of professional incompetence probably helped to accelerate a move …

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