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The Royal College of Psychiatrists Improving the lives of people with mental illness

Revalidation for psychiatrists


Revalidation requires doctors to demonstrate their on-going fitness to practise.

Revalidation aims to give extra assurance to patients and the public, as well as other healthcare professionals, that doctors registered with a licence are regularly checked by their employers and the General Medical Council.

All licensed doctors will need to revalidate on a regular basis (usually every five years) by having a local evaluation of their performance through an appraisal process based on the GMC's Good Medical Practice. The GMC website has more information on revalidation for doctors, employers and the public and the license to practise.

The College's role is to provide support and guidance to Members and Fellows in relation to revalidation - the easiest way to access this support is via the resources on this webpage or through the revalidation helpdesk.


Revalidation guidance for psychiatrists

The College provides guidance for psychiatrists on supporting information for appraisal and revalidation, which can be found here: Supporting Information for Appraisal and Revalidation: Guidance for Psychiatrists (CR194). The College also provides a guide to appraisal, Good Practice Guidelines for Appraisal.


Evaluation and development of revalidation

The GMC commissioned a review of revalidation in 2016, led by Sir Keith Pearson, and his report on the operation and impact of revalidation was published in January 2017. In July 2017 the GMC set out their response to the review's findings and an action plan.

The GMC have a wealth of material on their website, including revalidation, information for trainee doctors, requirements for supporting information and advice on your licence to practice.


Designated bodies for revalidation

Establishing a prescribed connection with a designated body is a vital first step in revalidation. The most comprehensive source of advice on this issue is the GMC website, which includes an algorithm to help doctors find their designated bodies. Other external bodies which may be able to help include the Independent Doctors Federation and the Medical Support Union (Medsu) who can provide appraisal and revalidation services to doctors.

Within the College, the Private and Independent Practice Special Interest Group (PIPSIG) has previously organised a series of workshops looking at the issues affecting independent doctors' revalidation. PIPSIG also host a forum to help, for example, doctors find a PDP peer group. The forum can be accessed from the PIPSIG webpage.


Continuing Professional Development

An important element of the supporting information required for revalidation is CPD, a process of self assessment, self-directed, lifelong learning that complements formal undergraduate and postgraduate education and training. There are various ways to structure and record your CPD for revalidation purposes. The easiest way for most psychiatrists is to use the College CPD scheme, based on membership of an effective, functioning peer group. Further details are available on the College CPD webpages.


Feedback from patients and colleagues

One of the key requirements of revalidation is for doctors to gather feedback from patients and from colleagues at least once in every five year revalidation cycle. There are various tools and systems to support doctors to gather this feedback. The College recommends ACP 360 Multi-Source Assessment for psychiatrists, an appraisal process designed specifically for psychiatrists and fully compliant with GMC requirements. ACP 360 also provides benchmarked feedback for psychiatrists.

The College has developed a tool to support expert witnesses to gather feedback, for example from solicitors and barristers.

The GMC have published and recently updated guidance and case studies on getting feedback from patients, aimed particularly at doctors who find gathering feedback from patients a challenge; also provided are sample feedback questionnaires and leaflets for patients on giving feedback.


New consultants (StartΨell)

StartΨell is a consultant-led initiative aimed at senior trainees and psychiatrists who are in their first five years as a consultant or locum consultant. StartΨell focusses on six elements to support psychiatrists in their first consultant role with the intention to establish good habits for their careers. More information can be found in the StartΨell pages, including a comprehensive StartΨell guide.


Revalidation forms and resources

The following forms, based on the appendices of Supporting Information for Appraisal and Revalidation: Guidance for Psychiatrists (CR194), can be used to collect elements of the supporting information you need for revalidation.

  • Case-based discussion: there are two templates available - a simple version, suitable for most psychiatrists and available in PDF | Word and a longer version developed for doctors involved in third tier tribunal work: PDF | Word
  • Audit pro forma: PDF | Word
  • Multisource feedback (colleague and patient / carer): PDF | Word
  • Significant event audit: PDF | Word
  • Complaint report: PDF | Word


Information from other organisations


Contact and helpdesk

If you have any questions or comments about revalidation, please email the College's revalidation helpdesk:


Dr Ellen Wilkinson

Associate Registrar for Revalidation



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