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What is revalidation for locum doctors?

All locum doctors need to be revalidated by the General Medical Council (GMC) to ensure they can continue to work as a doctor in the UK. The revalidation process is an opportunity for you to demonstrate your suitability to continue working as a medical professional, develop your practice and to give your patients confidence in your abilities. But what does revalidation for locum doctors look like, and what do doctors need to prepare?

Revalidation is usually a five-year cycle during which locum doctors undergo annual appraisals. These appraisals will give you feedback on your practice as a locum doctor and are opportunities for you to demonstrate your strengths and address any areas for improvement. These appraisals make up a large part of the revalidation process, but you will also need to put forward a portfolio of additional evidence to support your revalidation.

On the basis of your appraisals and supporting information, a responsible officer (RO) appointed by your designated body will make a recommendation to the GMC on whether or not you should be revalidated.

Which is your revalidation designated body?

As part of your revalidation, you will need to list a designated body. Your designated body is the employer or agency for which you do the majority of your work. So for many locum doctors, this will be the main agency that you work through. If you’re a locum doctor registered and working via multiple agencies, your designated body will be the agency for which you did the majority of your work in the last 12 months.

If you’re still not sure which organisation your designated body should be, you can speak to the GMC for advice or visit their website here.

If you are registered with Medacs and do the majority of your work through us, please contact our dedicated Revalidation team for support on 0141 221 4277.

What is a responsible officer?

A responsible officer (RO) will be assigned to you by your designated body. Usually, this will be a senior or experienced medical professional with more than five years’ practice. Your RO will be your key contact throughout the revalidation process and will be there to support you with any questions or advice.

The primary role of the RO is to gather enough information about you and your professional practice to make an informed recommendation to the GMC on your revalidation. To do this, your RO will take into account a range of elements – which we explore in greater depth below – in order to get a clear picture of your career as a locum doctor.

On the basis of your RO’s assessment, they will make one of three recommendations to the GMC, although it’s important to remember that the GMC makes the final decision. You may be given notification of a positive outcome, a delayed decision for the RO to gather more information, or a notification that you won’t be revalidated. If you aren’t revalidated, your RO may give you guidance and remedial training to help you improve the standard of your practice.

Medacs has a RO who oversees the revalidation process, supported by our dedicated Scotland-based Revalidation team.

Using your annual doctor appraisals for revalidation

A key part of your revalidation process will be your appraisals. Locum doctors are required to undergo annual appraisals that review your strengths and areas for improvement, as well as any feedback from colleagues and patients. As a locum doctor, you may be working in several different environments meaning that there is often a wide range of different feedback that your RO can consider during the appraisal process.

Appraisals are opportunities for you to present a portfolio of your work, and to reflect on how it supports your suitability to continue practising as a doctor. At each appraisal, the GMC expects you to present six key types of information to demonstrate your aptitude. These are:

  • Continued Personal Development (CPD)
  • Quality improvements
  • Significant events
  • Feedback from patients
  • Feedback from colleagues
  • Compliments and complaints

These yearly appraisals can help you secure your revalidation by demonstrating your continued development, your standard of practice and how you have responded positively to setbacks or complaints. Even if there are recognised areas for improvement, ROs will take into account if you have responded well and constructively to this feedback.

To support you as a doctor in the revalidation process, Medacs has a robust system in place to ensure doctors are appraised on an annual basis. Doctors can access a specialised appraisal toolkit called L2P (Licence to Practise) to support them in their annual appraisals and the colleague and patient feedback process. Medacs also has a bank of highly experienced and skilled appraisers to meet your needs and support you as a doctor.

Revalidation is an essential part of being a practising locum doctor in the UK, and with the right preparation, can be a smooth process. For more doctor revalidation advice, click here, or to browse our latest doctor roles, click here

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