Finding a Designated Body



This fact sheet has been written by Dr Paul Myers, medical director of Doctors Appraisal Consultancy .  It has been designed to help UK registered and licensed doctors who do not have a route to revalidation, that is they are not registered with a designated body, (or suitable person), and therefore have to follow the GMC’s annual return process.

There are approximately 8,000 doctors in the UK in this situation.  There are a number of reasons why it is recommended to avoid the GMC annual return process, and for most doctors finding an alternative route to revalidation rather than proceeding with the GMC’s own system  is preferable.

It is hoped that this fact sheet is helpful if having read this you have further specific enquiries or would like Doctors Appraisal Consultancy to help you find an alternative route to revalidation then please contact us by email to    or by phone on 07956393916

In the UK there are a total of 230,000  doctors with licenses to practice.  in order to retain your  licence ) you will need to be “revalidated”.  For most doctors this means  that a senior doctor called a responsible officer,  with whom they are linked,  will  review all available evidence about the doctor’s clinical practice including  the annual appraisals undertaken. As long as there are no concerns  about the doctor’s fitness to practice ,  the responsible officer then makes a recommendation to the GMC for the doctor to hold a licence  for a further five years. this process applies to the vast majority of doctors in the UK.  For them the  link to the responsible officer  is through an  organisation;  the designated body.  This might be a clinic,   hospital,  NHS trust or other healthcare provider.  There are approximately 880  designated bodies at this time.  The majority of doctors  will be in a position to review their  clinical work  and the organisations for whom they are employed /  contracted  or otherwise linked.  This link identifies the designated body with who they  can connect,  and therefore through which  they revalidate.  It is their route to revalidation.

For a  significant number of doctors  finding this link can be difficult.  this applies particularly for doctors who are in the independent sector,  who have portfolio careers,  work part-time ,  all provide clinical services that might not fit into the conventional model of  providing clinical  care to patients.   There are many example of doctors in this situation.  Examples might be ships doctors, coroners, doctors  exclusively providing medicolegal reports, doctors returning from maternity leave, career breaks and sabatticals, short-term contract doctors and locums, private GPs  etc.  In many of these cases there is not a easily recognisable route to revalidation.

There are some independent sector organisations that offer an appraisal / revalidation service, but these sometimes have relatively strict entrance criteria, and are membership organisations meaning that you have to be a member of the organisation before a route to revalidation is offered.

This means that some doctors are stranded in that they need a licence to practice medicine but cannot find a suitable designated body.  for these doctors the following option are available

  1. Attempt to make a connection to an existing  Designated Body and a Responsible Officer, this is the commonest pathway,  but as stated above is not always possible.
  2. Connection to a Suitable Person. This is relatively uncommon, there are a very limited number of suitable persons in the UK who can only provide a GMC recognised connection for a few doctors in specific contexts.  (see frequently asked questions below. ) However Doctors Appraisal Consultancy has supported a number of doctors  without a route to revalidation  who have  being able to  followed this particular  method of revalidation,  and would be pleased to identify a suitable person for you  if applicable  in relation to your scope of practice.
  3. Make a direct Submission to the GMC. (This is also called “The annual return process”)   This route enables independent doctors without a connection to a Designated Body or Suitable Person to Revalidate by direct submission to the GMC. The medical practitioner who has chosen to revalidate via the Direct Submission route will need to make an annual return of information to the GMC . The GMC advises medical practitioners considering the Direct submission route  as follows “you will need to make arrangements yourself, through an independent provider of UK medical appraisals based on our GMP framework for revalidation”.    Doctors Appraisal Consultancy  is one such provider. If you choose to  follow the GMC annual return process,  following a successful appraisal provided by  Doctors Appraisal Consultancy  , you will be issued with a  specific GMC form called a REV12 which the GMC require to show that you have had an  appropriate appraisal by an appropriate appraiser.
  4. Set up a new Designated Body. It is not widely known that the regulations allow for new designated bodies  to be set up, so that doctors can be provided with a route to revalidation  linked to their own clinical practices. there is not a specific number of doctors  that have to be linked to a given designated body,  and there are some designated bodies with  only one or two doctors linked to it.  In order to comply with the regulations  specific requirements  are  necessary  for a designated body to be created.  However  Doctors Appraisal Consultancy  has supported a significant number of doctors  in the creation of new designated bodies over the last two years.   If you  believe that  the creation of a designated body in relation to your own clinical work would be helpful,  then contact  Doctors Appraisal Consultancy  for independent advice.



How can I view a list of current designated  available? 

A list of current designated bodies is available on the GMC website, or you can simply click the following link  to view this directly:

What is a designated body?

Most licensed doctors have a connection with one organisation that provides them with an annual appraisal and helps them with revalidation. This organisation is called your ‘designated body’.  Only UK organisations can be designated bodies, because the legal rules that determine this only cover the UK.

What is a designated body’s role?

Your connection with this organisation means you are always:

  • supported with appraisal and revalidation
  • working in an environment that monitors and improves the quality of its services, regardless of how or where you practise in the UK.
  • It is the responsible officer of this designated body who makes a recommendation about you, usually every five years, that you are up to date, fit to practise and should be revalidated.

Should I give up my licence?

If you are not offering any medical services in the UK, don’t need a licence for the work you do, or practise overseas, then you probably don’t need a licence and might want to give it up.

If you do this, you won’t have to take part in revalidation, but will remain on the GMC register so you can show you are in good standing with them.  In general  even if you are not providing clinical services regularly in the UK,   If you are planning to do this in the  short to medium-teor are unsure about this, you can contact Doctors Appraisal  Consultancy for independent advice over this issue.

I am still unsure how my particular clinical roles can link to a designated body.

Many doctors work across a number of settings and may be considered to have a connection to more than one designated body. The regulations set out the hierarchy where doctors have different types of connection.  Some doctors  have more than one employer, and may have a very specific, unusual clinical role.  Doctors with practising privileges , short term contracts or who have portfolio careers   who are unsure of their status can contact Doctors Appraisal  Consultancy for independent advice.

I am considering making a direct submission to the GMC. Are there any disadvantages to this?

It is thought that the GMC would prefer all doctors to have a designated body ,  as this will provide an even playing field for all licensed doctors recommendation, all doctors would then have  having to comply with standard clinical governance processes common to all designated bodies.   If you do not have a designated body  then the GMC would look towards other methods of checking your fitness to practice a that you are complying with the GMC good medical practice guidelines. The way the GMC is doing this currently is setting an “assessment”  for any Dr without a designated body.   This would involve going to the GMC offices in Manchester and sitting a series of examinations.  The cost is approximately £1200.   The subject of these exams would not necessarily be  in relation to your own scope of practice or expertise.   Feedback from  a number of doctors who have taken this examination have reported problems in relating their knowledge and skills of their own specialties  to the specific questions set. The other problem is  that this examination has  only been introduced recently,  so there is a limit to available information at this time.  The consequence  of the above is that many doctors  consider  it preferable to avoid the GMC annual return process and to strive to find an alternative routes to revalidation.

What is a suitable person?

A Suitable Person is a licensed doctor who we have approved to make revalidation recommendations about your fitness to practise. Is there anyone who could support you with your revalidation and make a recommendation about you? This might be, for example:

the person who has responsibility for clinical governance and appraisal in your organisation, or the Responsible Officer of a designated body that you work or, but don’t have a prescribed connection to.   A suitable person performs the same revalidation functions as a Responsible Officer and is responsible for:

  • overseeing the evaluation of fitness to practise, and monitoring the conduct and performance of doctors
  • ensuring that there are systems and processes in place locally to support doctors in their revalidation, such as annual appraisals
  • making recommendations to the GMC about the revalidation of doctors who have an approved connection to them. there is further guidance on the GMC website.

If you are considering finding an appropriate suitable person, you can contact Doctors Appraisal  Consultancy for independent advice over this issue, and how this may or may not comply with the revalidation Regulations.


  • Doctors with a licence to practise who do not have a prescribed connection elsewhere and who work as Forensic Medical Examiners (FME) in the UK.
  • Doctors with a licence to practise who do not have a prescribed connection elsewhere and are Fellows, Members, Licentiates, Affiliates or Associate members of the Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine at the Royal College of Physicians
  • Doctors with a licence to practise who are pathologists undertaking forensic and coronial autopsies and who are not on the Home Office Register and do not have a prescribed connection to any other body.
  • Doctors who work in aesthetic medicine and do not have a prescribed connection to any other body.
  • Doctors with a licence to practise, who are members of the Association of Aviation Medical Examiners
  • Doctors who are Associates or Licenced Associates of the Faculty of Homeopathy
  • Doctors who are Crematorium Referees

It is hoped that this fact sheet is helpful if having read this you have further specific enquiries or would like Doctors Appraisal Consultancy to help you a  route to revalidation then please contact us by email to    or by phone on 0795639391