In January the regulator announced that revalidation would continue despite huge pressure on practices during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
GP revalidation was halted in summer last year to free up time and ease the burden on doctors, but started up again last autumn. Of more than 60,000 doctors whose revalidation dates were rescheduled last year, the GMC says one in three chose an option to revalidate before their rescheduled date.
The GMC has now said it will be contacting doctors whose dates were not rescheduled last year to remind them of their revalidation submission date.
The reminder will provide at least four months’ notice, with letters going to doctors whose revalidation is from August 2021 at the earliest. The regulator has stressed that it will continue to provide doctors and responsible officers with ‘maximum flexibility’ to meet local needs.
GMC director of registration and revalidation Una Lane said: ‘In the coming weeks we’ll begin contacting doctors who have revalidation dates scheduled from August 2021 to explain next steps and outline options for those not yet ready to revalidate.
‘In light of pandemic pressures, last year we rescheduled dates for over 60,000 doctors with the flexibility to complete their revalidation earlier should they wish to do so – over a third chose this option. As the NHS begins to recover from one of its most challenging years, we’ll continue to support doctors and responsible officers so that decisions on how and when doctors should revalidate can be taken at a local level.
‘We know doctors have appreciated time to reflect on the last 12 months’ challenges. Local arrangements for a rebalanced approach to appraisal, focusing on support and wellbeing, are being rolled out across the service and we’re very supportive of this approach.’
The GMC confirmed it would continue to send other emails as part of its routine revalidation processes, such as reminders for doctors to send their connection details.
It added that doctors who are not ready to revalidate at the set date due to COVID-19 disruption would be able to defer through their responsible officer – and it will have no impact on their licence or ability to practise.
Last year the GMC took the decision to defer revalidation for up to a year for more than 50,000 doctors who were due to revalidate between 17 March 2020 and 16 March 2021.
The regulator wrote to 9,000 doctors last October to push back their revalidation dates by four months, with practitioners originally being asked to revalidate between March and July 2021.