DOCTORS not engaging with the GMC revalidation process could lose their licence to practise, according to new published guidance to help responsible officers make revalidation recommendations about registrants.
Revalidation is expected to begin later this year and the new guidance explains what responsible officers should take into account when deciding what their recommendation should be.
Responsible officers have the ability to make three types of recommendation in regard to a doctor's revalidation: a positive recommendation, a request for an individual's revalidation date to be deferred (e.g. if more time is needed to collect supporting information) and a notification of "non-engagement".
The guidance document states that: "A notification of non-engagement can potentially result in the GMC withdrawing a doctor’s licence to practise, through the existing processes for administrative removal."
But the protocol adds: "Notifications of non-engagement are not a mechanism through which concerns about doctors' fitness to practise can be raised with the GMC."
It advises responsible officers who become aware of concerns about a doctor's fitness to practise at any point in the revalidation to pursue this through the existing GMC processes for raising concerns.
The guidance follows publication of a recent report showing that more than 80 per cent of doctors in England are now linked to organisations that can support them with revalidation. The process should start for licensed doctors from April 2013 onwards.
Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the GMC, says: "We've worked with responsible officers from across all four countries of the UK to develop this guidance and make sure it supports them in their role. We're committed to ensuring that the guidance remains a practical and up to date resource, and we will keep the guidance under review once revalidation has been introduced to ensure it remains so."