Doctors can revalidate despite missing an appraisal as GMC expands flexibility in pandemic

Doctors with revalidation dates up to March 2021 can now delay the process for up to a year and complete the process despite missing an appraisal after the GMC announced further flexibility due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The GMC announced earlier this year that doctors with revalidation dates between 17 March and the end of September 2020 would have the process put back by a year.

This window has now been extended, after the regulator said revalidation can be delayed for up to a year for anyone due to revalidate between 17 March 2020 and 16 March 2021.

The regulator has also confirmed that doctors who miss an annual appraisal during the pandemic will not be prevented from revalidating - meaning that doctors can revalidate with less than five appraisals over the five-year revalidation period.

Revalidation delayed

Further flexibility has been adopted in response to feedback from responsible officers (ROs) - the senior doctors who make recommendations to the GMC about doctors' ability to revalidate.

GMC chief executive Charlie Massey said: ‘The coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented challenge and we are doing all we can to support doctors and employers. Deferring revalidation dates will help free up more time, allowing them to provide the best possible to care to patients.

‘We’ve also listened to ROs, who told us they would welcome flexibility in making recommendations to revalidate doctors whose dates have changed. So, we have agreed that those recommendations can be made at any time up to a doctor’s revised date.’

COVID-19 pandemic

The GMC confirmed that an appraisal missed as a result of the pandemic 'should not prevent a recommendation being made about a doctor’s revalidation'.

ROs will be allowed to make a revalidation recommendation for a doctor 'with less than five annual appraisals, providing there is a legitimate reason for the missed appraisal and that other necessary supporting information has been collated'.

The regulator is writing to doctors due to revalidate in the 12-month period covered by the flexibility. It has set out further information on changes to revalidation adopted during the pandemic on its website.

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