Licensing is the initial stage of revalidation and is the responsibility of the General Medical Council (GMC).
On 16 November 2009 the GMC introduced the licence to practice. To practise medicine in the UK all doctors are required by law to hold both registration and a licence to practise. This applies whether they practise full time, part time, as a locum, privately or in the NHS, or whether they are employed or self-employed.
Licences will be required to be renewed periodically through the process of revalidation.
Licenced doctors will be required to demonstrate that they are practising in accordance with the standards of Good Medical Practice as set out by the GMC.
The GMC's website has more information on the license to practice.