More than £1m in funding has been provided by the government to set up a team that will work to ensure UK doctors meet expected standards.
The chief medical officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, said a panel of senior doctors will provide leadership and support to the NHS and patients.
It will also advise on revalidation, where doctors will have to demonstrate at regular intervals that they have kept their knowledge up-to-date and are fit to practise.
“The news that the NHS revalidation support team is now in place marks an important step forward in the process of introducing revalidation for doctors in England”, said Donaldson.
“Their expertise and experience will be a critical source of advice and support in making that happen. This is good news for the profession and good news for patients.”
Maurice Conlon, head of the team, said employers would have to go above and beyond the call of duty.
“We believe that, for revalidation to work, organisations must step outside their normal boundaries,” said Conlon.
“We are proud of our track record of building consensus and are enthusiastic about working co-operatively for the benefit of patients and doctors.”
The team will work closely with NHS stakeholders and colleagues throughout the UK to ensure that professionals, employers and commissioners of services are involved in the design and roll-out of the new processes, which will begin pilot tests in 2009.