License to Heal: 5 Incentives for GCC-Based Doctors to Revalidate their GMC Licenses
The backbone of any country’s medical industry lies in the skill of its healthcare workers. Practicing physicians, directly involved in patient welfare are responsible for the lives of the patients who seek their help, and it stands to reason, that as a global society, it is expected that doctors exhibit core skills in diagnosis and treatment in their chosen specialties, as they practice medicine. The ways in which countries across the world assess and validate their health care professionals varies, but most have licensing processes after doctors finish their academic and professional training, allowing them to practice medicine in that country. Since 2012, the United Kingdom’s (UK) General Medical Council (GMC) has made it mandatory for licensed doctors to undergo the process of revalidation every five years, for which an annual appraisal of the doctor’s performance is essential. The appraisals evaluate the physicians’ adherence to Good Medical Practice, ensuring his proficiency and expertise, and requires sufficient information or a portfolio of evidence, to support their claims.
The advantages to maintaining a valid GMC license while living and practicing outside the UK, are many.
1. Registered doctors get to have the best of both worlds, having the ability to practice both in their home country as well as in the UK if they wished to in the future, making it very easy to move their home base.
Having a GMC validated license, appraised yearly and revalidated every five years, enables doctors to work flexibly in regions across the Middle East while providing the option of practicing in the UK, in the future, if one wishes to do so.
2. The process itself is simple and well regulated, incentivizing yearly appraisal and revalidation as a feasible option for many.
3. Applicants who validate their licenses through recognized international organizations like the GMC, are exempted from local assessments conducted as per the Professional Qualification Requirements (PQR) of UAE through bodies like Dubai Health Authority (DHA) or the Dubai Healthcare City Authority- Regulatory(DHCR). In Saudi Arabia, assessments are held by the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties, while in Abu Dhabi, they are held by the Health Authority-Abu Dhabi (HAAD), both of which accept the GMC license validation for doctors to work in these countries.
4. With the COVID 19 pandemic, medical resources around the world were stretched beyond capacity, prompting the GMC to reduce the red tape around registration and revalidation of International Medical Graduates, in order to build their workforce.
According to the data released by the GMC earlier this year, for the first time, more non-UK medical graduates took up a licence to practise than UK medical graduates, showing a largely diverse medical community, practicing both in the UK and abroad.
Furthermore, here are Five reasons why doctors should consider revalidation under the GMC:
1. Through annual appraisals, doctors are incentivized to keep themselves updated with the latest trends in their fields. They develop a work culture based on improvement and continuous professional development with their personal learning plans, through training, research, CMEs or publications in academia. It also provides an analysis of a physician’s strengths, while throwing light on some areas that show scope for improvement.
2. The appraisals also require patient feedback, encouraging doctors to actively engage with their patients and deliver their best. With that, there is an overall improvement in the quality of care received.
3. It also requires feedback and reviews from peers in the healthcare industry, ensuring that the physician has good professional standing. It provides a good estimation of a physician’s ability to effectively communicate with both his patients and colleagues.
4. It helps to standardize the quality of healthcare delivered to patients, and the propagation of evidence-based medicine, clinical governance and patient safety. This helps to build trust within the doctor-patient dynamic.
5. Appraisals with the reward of revalidation, also motivates physicians to achieve their personal goals, with their practice or in the organization they work for. It acts as a feather in their caps, an achievement which adds to their portfolio and is a great career enhancing opportunity.
In spite of its many advantages, revalidation with the GMC is not universally appreciated in the medical community, due to the perception of administrative interference in medical practice, which disrupted the status quo. It required a cultural change to adapt and adopt the concept of licensing and revalidation, as well as annual appraisals, and taking patient feedback.
However, in recent times, these hurdles have been overcome, due to the undeniable advantages a performance based, unbiased and standardized process brings to the forefront.
- BDI Resourcing, Blog. “GMC Updates in Response to COVID-19.” BDI Resourcing, 26 Mar. 2020, bdiresourcing.com/news/gmc-updates-in-response-to-covid-19/470.
- Tazzyman, A., Ferguson, J., Hillier, C. et al. The implementation of medical revalidation: an assessment using normalisation process theory. BMC Health Serv Res 17, 749 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12913-017-2710-5
- “The Role of Appraisal in the Regulation of Doctors.” Royal College of General Practitioners, www.rcgp.org.uk/training-exams/practice/revalidation/mythbusters-appraisal-and-revalidation/the-role-of-appraisal-in-the-regulation-of-doctors.aspx.
- “Basic Requirements for Working in the Middle East.” Medacs Healthcare, www.medacs.com/me-basic-requirements.
“Exemption from Assessment and Examination.” Dubai Health Authority, Health Regulation Department, 28 May 2020, www.dha.gov.ae/Documents/HRD/Policies/Policy%20for%20Exemption%20from%20Assessment%20and%20Examination%20final.pdf.