The General Medical Council (GMC) has submitted a letter to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt recommending that revalidation for doctors should begin in December this year.
At yesterday's "historical" meeting of the GMC Council, all four UK countries submitted statements to say they were ready for revalidation to begin as well together UK Revalidation Programme Board (UKRPB).
"We are more conscious than most about the time that has elapsed since revalidation was first recommended, and we are absolutely delighted that we have now got to a stage where we can actually start," said Professor Peter Rubin, Chair of the GMC.
"This is the biggest change in medical regulation since 1858. This is a really big event and we are leading the world in this area."
Prof Rubin said he anticipates a response from Hunt "within the next couple of weeks" and would be "very surprised" if the GMC's recommendation to begin revalidation is not upheld.
The GMC hopes around 20% of doctors will go through the revalidation process between April 2013 and March 2014.
"The penny will drop for doctors when they receive the letter which gives them the date when their revalidation will come," said Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the GMC.
Doctors will be chosen at random for revalidation on the basis of their GMC number.
Prof Rubin said he is "quite sure" the revalidation process will "not be perfect" but is "confident" it is "robust enough" to begin.