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Revalidation in Wales

Overview of appraisal and revalidation

The GMC introduced revalidation in 2012 as a process for all doctors to maintain a license to practice. One of the processes which underpins revalidation is annual appraisal, through which doctors demonstrate they are up to date and fit to practice.

Appraisal is a formative, systematic and regular review of past achievements with constructive planning of future learning needs encompassing all of the roles which a doctor undertakes, known as a whole practice appraisal. It is not a single event but part of a continuous process of lifelong review and planning of personal & professional development and an integral part of learning during your career.

Annual appraisals and an absence of concerns is the basis on which a revalidation decision is made, usually every 5 years. Revalidation and appraisal are based on the principles of the Good medical practice - professional standards - GMC ( which describes what it means to be a good doctor.

In Wales all GPs, and the majority of other doctors, use the Medical Appraisal Revalidation System (MARS) to organise and collate all their information towards annual appraisals. The MARS system provides doctors with an allocated quarter in which to undertake their appraisal e.g. January – March. Further information on MARS can be found on the Medical Appraisal Revalidation System (MARS) page.

The appraisal and revalidation processes in Wales involve a number of key people to ensure the processes run smoothly and are robust. These roles and responsibilities are outlined below, these will be referenced throughout the site.

Role Responsibilities
Doctor It is your responsibility to undertake annual appraisals and include all the GMC revalidation supporting information as required.
Appraiser They will undertake your appraisal, encouraging you to reflect and consider how your learning and experiences have improved your practice. They will also plan your Personal Development Plan (PDP) to focus your learning for the next 12 months.
Appraisal Co‑ordinator / Lead (AC/AL) They are usually an experienced Appraiser who provides advice and support to a team of Appraisers within their organisation/area. They provide a route for Appraisers to discuss any concerns they have outside of the formal clinical governance structure and also provide support to the Revalidation Team and Responsible Officer (RO).
Designated Body (DB)

Your Designated Body is the organisation that will appoint your Responsible Officer. In the NHS in Wales this will be your Health Board and your RO will be the Medical Director of that Health Board.

If you work wholly outside NHS Wales your designated body is most likely to be your employer and they have a duty to provide you with access to annual appraisals.

If you are in a training grade in NHS Wales your RO is the Medical Director of HEIW.

You should have a connection to your RO through GMC connect.

Revalidation Team The team within your designated body that will be able to support you with appraisal and revalidation. They may contact you to find out further information for your revalidation if necessary.
Responsible Officer (RO) Your RO is responsible for making your revalidation recommendation to the GMC, they also have a responsibility in quality assuring appraisal and revalidation processes within their DB including clinical governance.
Suitable Person If you do not have a connection with an RO then you may be able to have a connection with an identified Suitable Person. A Suitable Person must be approved by the GMC. They would make your revalidation recommendation to the GMC.
Revalidation Support Unit (RSU)

The Revalidation Support Unit sits within Health Education and Improvement Wales and has a number of responsibilities including:

  • GP Appraisal for Wales
  • Continuing Professional Development for GPs
  • Online Resources including MARS and Orbit360
  • Quality Management of the appraisal process
  • Revalidation Support for all doctors in Wales

The GMC are the regulator for the medical profession and revalidation is governed by them.

The GMC will make your final revalidation decision after receiving a recommendation from either your RO or a Suitable Person.

If doctors do not have any connection elsewhere they can connect directly with the GMC, in which case an annual process for appraisal and assessment must be undertaken in order to revalidate.

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