The arguments in favour of recertification have been made cogently. Doctors in the UK on the whole continue to enjoy the trust and respect of their patients and the general public, but the Shipman enquiry led by Dame Janet Smith questioned the validity of the existing system. Following a lengthy discussion, the Chief Medical Officer of England published his proposal for professional regulation: Trust, assurance and safety - the regulation of health professionals in the 21st century¹ was published in February 2007. This document laid out the principles of revalidation for all doctors practising in the United Kingdom. The purpose of revalidation is principally to ensure that doctors update their knowledge and skills, and that they are fit to practise. This mechanism of revalidation will ensure that health professionals will be able to demonstrate their continued fitness to practise by collecting supporting data. The medical revalidation has two components: relicensure and specialist recertification. From 16 November 2009 all doctors are expected to have a licence to practise to enable them to remain on the Medical Register, and this licence must be renewed every year. This process will be managed by the General Medical Council (GMC). Recertification will apply to all specialist doctors, including general practitioners, requiring them to demonstrate that they meet the standards that apply to their particular medical specialty. The Royal Colleges have been delegated to set these standards, and approved by the GMC. Recertification will take place every five years. Recertification will be underpinned by enhanced appraisal, multi source feedback, and a robust continuing professional development programme.
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