Revalidation frequency may vary for some GPs

Some doctors may have to undergo revalidation more frequently than the standard five-year cycle under proposals outlined by the GMC.

Niall Dickson: revalidation cycle (Photograph: C Renton)
Niall Dickson: revalidation cycle (Photograph: C Renton)

The GMC has launched a consultation on the new Licence to Practise and Revalidation regulations, which set out its powers to grant and withdraw a doctor's licence to practice.

The regulations say a five-year revalidation cycle would be standard, but that the GMC could also reduce or lengthen this period.

It said the GMC registrar, currently chief executive Niall Dickson, could change the revalidation cycle for an individual doctor or group of doctors 'as he thinks fit', although the registrar must give reasons for doing so.

A change could be made in situations where patient safety is at risk, but it could also apply to doctors returning to practice after a career break.

The regulations also state that doctors who refuse to co-operate in any part of the revalidation process will automatically lose their licence to practise.

In this situation, there would be no requirement on the GMC to demonstrate that the doctor's fitness to practise is impaired, it said.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said it 'makes sense' that where there are concerns about a doctor, they should face more frequent revalidation.

'A five-year cycle should be the norm and it should only be in more exceptional cases that this is not the case. But where the GMC does have particular concerns, they must be demonstrable,' he said.

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