A GMC licence is required by any doctor looking to practice in the UK and revalidation is the process by which the licence to practice is renewed. It’s an essential task for any locum, as the responsibility for a doctor to show that they are fit to practice and are on top of the latest guidelines and practices remains firmly with the individual. The revalidation process normally takes place every five years and is based on a set system of appraisal and clinical governance designed to allow doctors to provide evidence of compliance with the professional standards of the GMC’s guidance, Good Medical Practice.
The Prescribed Connection
Revalidation is required from every doctor, regardless of specialty, and the Medical Profession (Responsible Officers) Regulations 2010 set out the connections locums should have in order to complete the process. Every doctor should have a ‘prescribed connection’ with a ‘designated body’ and a ‘responsible officer’ within that body who will be the person who recommends a doctor’s fitness to practice to the GMC. The prescribed connection could be with a deanery, an employer, a locum agency on the national Government Procurement Service (Buying Solutions) framework or the PCT nearest to the doctor’s GMC registered address – the GMC website provides more information on how to establish this.
Every designed body will have its own appraisal system that complies with the Good Medical Practice Framework for Appraisal and Revalidation, including for locum doctors. Any arrangements being made for a personal appraisal should be checked first with a responsible officer. The appraisal will need to establish the scope of work, which includes details on where a doctor has been working, what type of work has been undertaken and how long appointments have lasted.
Key to establishing scope of work, and enabling the appraisal, is the supporting information. GMC guidance Supporting Information for Appraisal and Revalidation sets out the kind of information that this requires, which includes feedback from patients and colleagues, quality improvement activity, continuing professional development and significant events. Doctors are responsible for collecting this information and should focus on providing evidence of types of work – there’s a requirement to reflect on this information and show how practice has altered as a result.
Locums working abroad
For locums who work only occasionally in the UK and predominantly live and practice overseas these arrangements can be tricky. It is often simpler to relinquish a GMC licence and apply once again when returning to the UK full time.