Last reviewed 8 October 2013

The General Medical Council (GMC) has said it is waiting to hear from 7818 doctors who have not responded to calls to confirm their designated body, which is necessary to help them to revalidate.

Most licensed doctors have a formal connection with one organisation, known as the “prescribed connection”. The organisation is called the “designated body” and provides the doctors with regular appraisals and helps them with revalidation.

More than 8000 doctors have now been warned by the GMC that their licence to work is at risk unless they submit the required information to a key appraisal programme.

According to the council, more than half of the 7818 doctors who have not yet responded have overseas addresses, which means that they might not be currently working in the UK, and almost 15% are also over the age of 65 and might have retired.

As part of its “Make Your Connection” campaign in April last year, the GMC wrote to 54,000 doctors asking them to confirm their details. The doctors who have not yet responded are being sent a final notice letter advising them that they have 28 days to either confirm their designated body or tell the GMC they do not have one.

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said that revalidation of the UK’s 240,000 doctors had started well, with more than 18,500 of them already revalidated. “To help doctors, we are committed to keeping in close contact with them, particularly in these early days.

“We know that doctors are busy and some may have found it difficult to come back to us with the information we have asked for. We also know that many of the doctors who have not responded are working overseas or have retired so may have chosen not to respond. For those doctors who want to keep practising in the UK, they must get back to us so we can help them with their revalidation.”

The GMC has stressed that doctors have a legal duty under the GMC’s Licence to Practise and Revalidation Regulations to provide this information.

The NHS Revalidation Support Team (RST) said that work is being done to support any doctors who are not clear about the designated body that they are connected to. The GMC has developed an online tool to help check the designated bodies, and doctors are being asked to confirm the information through their GMC Online account.