The revalidation of doctors should begin by December this year, the General Medical Council will inform the health secretary tomorrow.

GMC chair Sir Peter Rubin described the decision by the organisation’s council to write to Jeremy Hunt recommending the move (Thursday) as “truly historic”.

“It is the biggest change in medical regulation since 1858 and we are leading the world in this area,” he added.

Under the plan, the responsible officers of organisations employing doctors - typically medical directors - will firstly be revalidated themselves between December and March. Twenty per cent of the medical workforce will be revalidated during 2013-14.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said the change would give trusts “better clinical governance arrangements” and “a better handle on the quality of doctors they have on their lists”.