If you wish to continue to work as a doctor in a role that requires you to have a licence to practise, then you will need to continue to engage with revalidation by collecting supporting information and having have annual whole practice medical appraisal, and hold a licence to practise. One limited exception to this is that you can work as a mental health tribunal doctor without a current licence. If you don’t need your licence, the GMC’s advice is that you should consider giving up your licence, and you can have registration only. More information can be found on the GMC’s website.
If you continue to work in the NHS or are employed by an independent medical organisation, your employer could be a designated body that will support you and can usually provide a route to appraisal and revalidation. Remember that appraisal should review all of your work as a doctor, not just your NHS work, even if it is an NHS appraisal. Identifying the correct designated body is key and many of the larger private practice organisations can act as a designated body. The GMC has an online tool that doctors can use to find their designated body.
If you work independently it can be daunting to find a suitable designated body. This is as relevant for psychiatrists seeking post retirement roles as it is for other portfolio career psychiatrists who are not tied to one employer. There are benefits to having an appraisal process which is entirely independent, and free from potential conflicts of interest with employers.
If you work independently and you don’t have a designated body elsewhere, the Independent Doctor Federation (IDF) can could be your designated body if you become a member. You will have access to their appraisal system and they have a responsible officer who will make a recommendation to the GMC. It can provide a route for appraisal and revalidation.
If the IDF is not possible, and there is no other organisation who could be your designated body, you may be able to connect to a ‘suitable person’. This is a licensed doctor approved by the GMC to make a revalidation recommendation for an individual doctor or a group of doctors. There is more information on the GMC website about this, including a list of people who already act as a suitable person for a cohort of doctors. There is an approved suitable person for doctors who undertake duties as SOADs and who do not have a prescribed connection to any other body.
Whatever organisation you join or designated body you connect with for revalidation, the process is essentially the same. All doctors must meet the GMC requirements for revalidation by collecting all of the required supporting information including multisource feedback, having annual appraisals, and meeting GMC standards for revalidation.
The GMC provides a process for revalidation by doctors who choose to keep their licence but who do not have a connection to a designated body or suitable person. You will need to continue to have annual appraisals, which you will need to source and arrange yourself, and you will need to send evidence and information to the GMC to demonstrate this every year. In addition, you will also need to undergo a revalidation assessment. It is a complex process requiring you to show that your knowledge and skills are sufficient to continue to practise.
The GMC also has a number of guides available on revalidation for doctors at different points in their careers that you may find helpful.