The chairman of the General Medical Council has become the first doctor to be revalidated under the government’s new scheme to ensure doctors are fit to practise.

Revalidation – a new system of checks on doctors - is run by the General Medical Council (GMC) and means the UK’s 230,000 licensed doctors are now legally required to show they are keeping up to date and are fit to practise.

The UK is the first country in the world to introduce such a system across its whole healthcare system, covering GPs, hospital doctors, locums and those working in the independent sector. To keep their licence to practise, doctors will be required to revalidate on a regular basis, usually every five years.

Talks about revalidation have been on-going for years and has caused controversy among doctors, but Professor Peter Rubin’s revalidation marks the starting point for the system.

Speaking of his revalidation, Prof Rubin, who is chair for the doctors’ regulator and a consultant physician and Professor of therapeutics at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, said: “I am delighted to be the first doctor in the UK to revalidate. This is the biggest change to medical regulation since the GMC was established in 1858 and change always brings some uncertainty to those it affects. However, to my medical colleagues I’d say that in this age of transparency our patients will expect nothing less."

He added: “I’ve had a number of patient and colleague feedbacks over the past few years and they’ve been helpful – partly in reaffirming all the things I do well and also in identifying what I can do better; none of us is perfect. For the vast majority of doctors, revalidation will be about improving still further their high standards of practice.”

Transition for doctors

Medical revalidation will normally happen every five years and will apply to all doctors in all settings in the UK - including doctors working as locums and in the private sector. Doctors will undergo annual appraisals based on the requirements of the GMC’s core guidance called ‘Good Medical Practice’.