In order to keep a licence to practice, all doctors, regardless of their specialty, need to prove that they are continuing to meet the requirements set out in Good Medical Practice, the General Medical Council's core guidance for doctors. They will have at least one appraisal per year. This makes sure that licensed doctors are up to date and fit to practice.

We at the BSR have worked with the Royal College of Physicians to produce specialty-specific guidance on revalidation for rheumatology.

Download the revalidation guidance for rheumatology (pdf)

Please note that The Royal College of Physicians provides information about the revalidation process and tools to use for patient and colleague feedback on their website.

BSR recommendations for revalidation

The BSR, through the Clinical Affairs Committee, has been engaged with discussions together with all the medical sub-specialties at the Royal College of Physicians to develop appropriate guidelines and standards for revalidation. The development of tools for revalidation will be on going and the processes will evolve as experience is gained.

The full details of the revalidation process, including the Guidance for Physicians for Supporting Information for Revalidation is available on the RCP website. This guidance has been tested in revalidation pilots, updated and feedback has shown that doctors who used the guidance have found it useful in preparing for appraisal.

The medical sub-specialties including BSR have agreed that the generic physician guidance would not include sub-specialty (e.g. rheumatology-specific guidance). Rheumatologists will need to consider their revalidation requirements in the context of their specialist practice, and BSR will continue to work with the RCP to ensure that work continues in this area in line with developments in other sub-specialties to ensure a consistency of approach.

BSR recommends that rheumatologists participate in multi-centre regional and national BSR audits, peer review in regions where schemes are available and contribute patient data to BSR Biologics Registers and other BSR supported databases. Information and reflection regarding such activities will be valuable for inclusion at appraisal.

Individual advice regarding revalidation for rheumatologists may be sought by appraisers, responsible officers or by rheumatologists directly. The RCP is developing a network of appropriately trained revalidation advisors. The BSR will not be giving advice directly and any queries should be emailed to the central dedicated helpdesk at the RCP. If the RCP wishes to seek further rheumatology–specific advice it may subsequently contact the BSR, which through trained individuals linked to the CAC will provide advice back to the college.

Ian Rowe
Chair, Clinical Affairs Committee                
September 2012