This section of the BTS website has been created to provide BTS members with information on revalidation, including links to important information, and access to tools to assist in preparing for the Revalidation process.

Revalidation is the term used to cover both re-licensing (required for all doctors) and recertification (required by those doctors who are on the GMC specialist register).

An introduction to the Revalidation process is given on the GMC website as follows:

On 16 November 2009 the GMC introduced the licence to practise. To practise medicine in the UK all doctors are required by law to hold both registration and a licence to practise.... Licensing is the first practical step towards the introduction of a new system called revalidation. This will require doctors to renew their licence to practise periodically.

Revalidation falls under the auspices of the Society’s Quality Improvement Committee (QIC). Through QIC, the Society is working closely with the Royal College of Physicians (London) on the development of the revalidation framework for physicians to ensure that information relevant to the specialty of respiratory medicine is taken into account.

To further support the guidance for physicians on supporting information for revalidation published in 2012, the RCP has continued to work with many physician specialty societies to produce specialty resource guides for revalidation, which signpost doctors to society-approved resources that will help with collecting relevant supporting information in relation to their field(s) of practice. The Resource Guide for Respiratory Medicine is available here. The Royal College of Physicians hosts a revalidation helpdesk, which we recommend that colleagues working in respiratory medicine use in the event that they need advice on appraisal or revalidation: Respiratory physicians should also familiarise themselves with the resources available from the RCP

What is BTS doing to support its members?

The purpose of revalidation is to assure patients and the public, employers and other healthcare professionals that licensed doctors are up to date and fit to practise.

In order to maintain your licence to practise you will be expected to have at least one appraisal per year that is based on the General Medical Council’s (GMC) core guidance for doctors, Good Medical Practice. You will need to maintain a portfolio of supporting information drawn from your current practice which demonstrates how you are continuing to meet the requirements set out by the GMC.

The GMC has set out its generic requirements for medical practice, appraisal and revalidation for all doctors and appraisal in three main documents. These are supported by specialty specific guidance from the medical royal colleges and faculties, which give the specialty context for the supporting information required for appraisal. You should therefore ensure you are familiar with the following:

Revalidation is based on a doctor’s current scope of practise. It does not dictate a set number of hours in any specialty or field of practice. All doctors, regardless of their specialty need to demonstrate that they are continuing to meet the requirements set out in Good Medical Practice.

Among the many physician specialties and subspecialties it is recognised that the details of the clinical work undertaken will differ, and that there is a great diversity of medical practice. It is important that the supporting information you provide is comprehensive and relevant to your field of practice. The purpose of the following guide from the British Thoracic Society, is to signpost respiratory physicians to informative and practical resources for collecting the supporting information required for revalidation.

In order to revalidate, you must collect supporting information as set out in the GMC’s Supporting Information for appraisal and revalidation:

  • general information about you and your professional work
  • keeping up to date 
  • review of practice - quality improvement activity - significant events
  • feedback on professional practice - colleague feedback - patient and carer feedback - complaints and compliments.

The following information offers signposting to additional information and resources on continuing professional development and quality improvement initiatives, which those working in respiratory medicine will find useful as they compile their supporting information portfolio for revalidation. Involvement in any of the suggested activities does not guarantee that a doctor will be revalidated. However, the activities are recognised by the British Thoracic Society as promoting the highest standards in the field of respiratory medicine.

Continuing Professional Development

Consultant Respiratory Physicians draw upon a range of resources for Continuing Professional Development including: BTS short courses, BTS e-learning modules, BTS Summer Meeting (annual conference focusing on continuing professional education) and the BTS Winter Meeting (the annual national and international conference for clinical and scientific research in respiratory medicine).

While these courses or activities are not mandatory for Respiratory Physicians, the Society aims to offer a balanced portfolio of educational activities to assist its members in maintaining high standards of clinical practice.

Full details of all BTS conferences and courses can be found at the BTS Learning Hub.

Quality Improvement Activity

BTS Audit Programme

The British Thoracic Society runs a nationally recognised programme of respiratory audits in the following areas: adult asthma, adult community acquired pneumonia, non-invasive ventilation, adult bronchiectasis, COPD discharge, adult emergency oxygen, pleural procedures, paediatric asthma, paediatric pneumonia and paediatric bronchiectasis.

The BTS audit programme is available via an online system which provides BTS members and others with the tools to audit, benchmark and identify areas for improvement in local services.

BTS audits are recommended for inclusion in Quality Accounts in England. It is therefore likely that Chest Physicians will present evidence of participation in National Audit as part of their portfolio of evidence demonstrating safe practice.

A number of other national audits are available in respiratory medicine:

  • National COPD audit (part of NCAPOP programme) 2013 onwards
  • National Review of Asthma Deaths (2012/13)

BTS Care Bundles for COPD and CAP

In 2012/13 the British Thoracic Society supported a project aimed at introducing care bundles in COPD and CAP in a limited number of hospitals across the country. The care bundle project report and associated resources are available for other hospitals to support quality improvement on a local basis. 

BTS Interstitial Lung Disease Registry

BTS Interstitial Lung Disease Registry project covering two diseases:

  • Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF)
  • Sarcoidosis

The project aims to provide a means of national data collection for both IPF and Sarcoidosis through the development of the BTS online data collection system. The intention is to provide an easily accessed system for prospective data collection in a large number of patients so that the public health and epidemiological status of these conditions in the UK can be established. The Registry is open for data collection and participation from clinicians working with patients with these conditions is encouraged.

Demonstrating the quality and effectiveness of practice:

A respiratory physician could demonstrate the quality and effectiveness of their practice by presenting data and evidence of reflection on:
- Results of national audits of patients under their care;
- Demonstrating that they/their department services meet the standards defined in existing BTS and NICE Quality Standards;
- Evidence of participation in on-going data collection exercises such as the National Lung Cancer Audit, the BTS ILD Registry, with personal reflection on how the results entered in these databases affect their personal practice benchmarked against national standards.

August 2016