Doctors working in clinical informatics may need or want to hold a licence to practise. If you are unsure whether you should retain your licence to practise, the GMC provides discussion points that may help you decide.

The GMC says, “Revalidation assures patients and the public that doctors remain up to date and fit to practise, in line with the standards of practice required in the UK. It is founded on the principle that you have met the professional expectations placed on you as a doctor practising in the UK. You have a professional obligation to give an honest and comprehensive picture of your whole practice for revalidation.”

How to revalidate

To retain your license to practice, regulations require you to engage with the following revalidation processes:

Make your revalidation connection with a designated body or suitable person

There is a clear set of rules that determines which organisation is your designated body. The rules are based on regulations and you cannot choose who will be your designated body or responsible officer.

The GMC has developed an online help tool to help you find which organisation is your prescribed designated body.

For the majority of doctors in clinical informatics, it will be straightforward and your designated body will be your employer (NHS Trust, board, agency, or similar). This means that as you change employment over the years it is likely that your designated body will also change. It is important that you keep the GMC informed of any changes.

A small number of doctors in health informatics may not have a prescribed designated body. If you are unsure, you should work through the GMC tool and if you do not identify a prescribed designated body you will reach a set of questions including, “Are you currently a Health Informatics Practitioner?” If you can say “Yes” to this (and “No” to all the preceding question sets) then you will be taken to a statement informing you that you may be able to connect to a suitable person who can act as your responsible officer.

It is important to note that you can only connect to a suitable person to act as your responsible officer if you do not have a designated body prescribed in regulations, so you should follow the GMC tool carefully. Clicking on the link to the list of approved suitable persons and scrolling down will find the contact details of John Woodhouse who is a suitable person for Health Informaticians.

Collect honest and accurate supporting evidence across the whole scope of your practice

Doctors with a connection

  • Follow the advice and guidance of your responsible officer or suitable person
  • Collect and reflect on supporting information about your informatics practice in line with Academy of Royal Medical Colleges

Doctors in training

  • Participate in the requirements of your UK training programme (your responsible officer is the postgrad dean)

Doctors with no connection

Participate in annual whole practice appraisals for revalidation, reflecting on and discussing supporting information

Doctors with a connection

  • Your responsible officer will allocate you an appraiser for the purposes of revalidation
  • Your suitable person should be satisfied and you in finding an appropriate appraiser.

Doctors with no connection

The GMC says, “Annual whole practice appraisal should be supportive and developmental, and is not a pass or fail exercise. You must participate in a whole practice appraisal every year unless there are clear and reasonable mitigating circumstances that prevent you from doing so. For example, you might not have had an appraisal one year because you were on maternity leave or long-term sickness absence. Providing there are clear and reasonable mitigating circumstances, we do not require you to ‘catch up’ on appraisals and you do not have to complete five appraisals to revalidate. You should discuss and agree this with your responsible officer before any period of prolonged absence, or as soon as you know how long you are going to be away from work.”

Your revalidation recommendation

Your responsible officer or suitable person will usually make a recommendation to the GMC about you once every five years. You must take reasonable steps to ensure you engage with revalidation processes to enable your responsible officer or suitable person to make a recommendation about you to before your revalidation submission date.

Revalidation Resources

Comprehensive GMC guidance for all doctors on revalidation and maintaining your licence March 2018

GMC Guidance on supporting information for appraisal and revalidation March 2018

Academy of Royal Medical Colleges (AOMRC) Guidance on supporting information for appraisal and revalidation July 2018

AOMRC Revalidation FAQs

AOMRC Revalidation Mythbusters April 2018

The Medical Profession (Responsible Officer) Regulations came into force on 1 January 2011 and were amended on 1 April 2013 (The Medical Profession (Responsible Officers) (Amendment) Regulations 2013).