• Doctors due to revalidate this year will have it deferred, GMC confirms
  • Massey: move is to help ‘free up time’ during covid-19 pandemic

Doctors due to revalidate their licences between now and September have been told to delay doing so until next year and focus on their frontline duties.

The General Medical Council confirmed the move today as the number of coronavirus cases continues to surge. 

GMC chief executive Charlie Massey said this should help “to free up vital time” as the NHS grapples with covid-19.

He told HSJ: “We’re doing everything in our power to support doctors and employers on the frontline, where patients need them most. We hope this will help ease the burden on doctors already working so hard to deliver the best possible care.”

All licenced doctors who practice medicine are required to revalidate every five years. The body has estimated around 36,000 were due to do so this year between March and the end of September.

The announcement comes after the GMC published its guidance for medical schools amid covid-19. It confirmied it does not plan to change its process for the provisional registration of medical students.

Final year students should be invited to apply in April and “we’ll follow our usual approach so you can start working in August,” it said.

Colin Melville, GMC medical director and director of education for standards, said the body recognises these are “exceptional circumstances” and that medical schools may need to make their own adjustments.

He added: “The decision to graduate a student is a matter for the university, but they must be satisfied our professional requirements and curricula outcomes have been met to ensure new doctors have the right skills and knowledge to provide the best possible care.

“The UK is rightly proud of the talented doctors it produces and we must maintain high standards for patient safety.”