Workforce and Training

27.03.20

Temporary registration granted to 11,800 doctors by GMC

Following an official request by the UK government, the General Medical Council (GMC) has granted temporary registration to 11,856 doctors who had left the profession.

This means the doctors are now licensed to practice medicine again in the UK and are able to help assist with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, should they be asked to do so by the UK health services.

The temporary registrations were able to be granted to doctors not currently in practice, provided they met certain requirements, due to Section 18a of the Medical Act 1983, which allows the UK government, in an emergency, to lodge an official request for registrations.

GMC is granting temporary registration to doctors who had given up their registration or license to practice within the last three years. To be eligible to be given temporary registration, doctors had to have a UK address, be fully qualified and experienced and be of a good standing with no outstanding complaints, sanctions or conditions.

Last week, the GMC wrote to doctors who met the criteria, more than 15,000 in total, to explain the process and what they should do if they wanted to opt out for any reason.

While some doctors opted out, the remaining 11,856 have now been granted temporary registration with a license to practice. The average of the doctors is around 53, though more than a third are aged under 45.

The NHS will be responsible for deciding when and where the newly registered doctors are deployed and what roles they may be asked to carry out.

Dame Clare Marx, Chair of the GMC, said: “The challenge facing our health services, and indeed the UK as a whole, is unprecedented. Doctors are leading the fight and are working under immense pressure.

“Returning to practice in the current situation is a major commitment, and we are very grateful to each and every one of the doctors who are doing so.

“We realise that for many the decision about whether to return clinical work, and what roles they might be willing to do, is a difficult one.

“Doctors who had left the profession are under no obligation to return, and even now that temporary registration has been granted, they are still able to change their minds if they wish, for any reason.”

Contact details of doctors with temporary registration will be shared with health services across the UK matching their address, allowing these health bodies to contact them to discuss possible deployment.

GMC has also waived any registration fee for doctors with temporary registration during the emergency. More information about the temporary registration process can be found in a web guide published by the GMC.

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