Frequently asked questions - LRMP download
Publishing and sharing registration information about doctors
What is the LRMP download service?
We provide a subscription service which licences organisations to receive publicly available registration information about doctors.
The service enables organisations to download the medical register in one file. They can also download a 'delta file', which includes daily updates to the medical register. The information available through the download service mirrors that which is accessible through the online medical register, which the GMC is tasked by law, to publish and maintain.
Organisations use the information from the service for a variety of purposes. Many do so to supplement their own databases (such as HR systems). Providing the service avoids the need for organisations to search and extract this information from the online medical register manually, which would be extremely time-consuming and might also create errors in the data being copied.
Under the terms of the licence we grant, subscribers are restricted in their use of the data and prohibited from republishing the information without our permission.
What kind of organisations subscribe to the service?
There are currently over 100 organisations which subscribe to our LRMP download service. They include:
- The national HR systems for the NHS in England, Wales and Scotland
- The Health and Social Care Information Centre and NHS Wales Information Service
- the BMA and several medical royal colleges and faculties
- medical defence organisations
- NHS and private healthcare employers
- various media companies (such as Cogora, Doctors.net.uk and Haymarket Media Group)
Download the current full list of subscribers (pdf) (last updated 12 October 2016).
How much does it cost a company to subscribe to the service, and how much does the GMC make from this?
A standard licence costs £600 (+VAT) per year, and our income from the service in 2016 is £66,000. The income is used to fund the service, including staffing costs and maintain the upkeep of GMC information systems.
What information is shared as part of this service?
The information available through this service is publicly available registration information about doctors - what we class as 'Level 1' information. We make it available to any enquirer - whether they request the information by searching the online medical register, or over the phone (by speaking to our Contact Centre).
Level 1 information consists of:
- a registered doctor's reference number
- their name
- their gender
- the year and place of their primary medical qualification
- their current registration status
- their date of registration
- the date on which their annual retention fee is due
- and any publicly available fitness to practise history.
We hold other classes of information about doctors which are not included in the LRMP download service. Examples of this class of information include a doctor's date of birth, their ethnicity, photograph (which we take for identity purposes at registration) and registered address.
How do you transfer the information to a company?
The registration information is downloaded by organisations using a secure web portal managed by the GMC.
The GMC is committed to keeping information about doctors secure. We are accredited to the international information security standard ISO27001 and protect our IT infrastructure in line with industry standards and good practice. We arrange for our systems and processes to be audited by independent experts. GMC staff are also required to complete mandatory training every year in information security and data protection.
Who controls the information which you share through this service?
The GMC is the data controller. Under Section 34 of the Medical Act 1983, we are required to publish registration information about doctors ('electronically or otherwise').
Can I opt out of my data being shared through this service?
Inclusion in the medical register is a condition of UK registration; and as mentioned above, the GMC is required by the Medical Act 1983 to publish registration information about doctors. It is not possible for a doctor to opt out of their information being published on the medical register or shared via the download service.
How does a company become licensed to receive the download service?
Before granting a licence, potential subscribers are provided with details of:
- the information provided as part of the service (i.e. the information contained in the public register)
- information expressly excluded from the service (such as contact details and other confidential, non-public domain data)
- limitations on usage.
What happens if you find out a licence holder is not using the information correctly?
Licence holders sign a legally binding agreement with us. Under the terms of our licence, subscribers are restricted in their use, and prohibited from republishing the LRMP data without our permission. If we believe that an organisation is in breach of the terms of licence, then we will investigate further, and where necessary withdraw their licence.
If I believe an organisation licensed to receive this information is not using it correctly, what should I do?
Under the terms of our licence, subscribers are prohibited from republishing the publicly available registration information without our permission.
If you think an organisation is misusing the information that we supply, please contact us by emailing email@example.com and we will look into the matter. If the terms of the licence have been breached, it will be withdrawn.
The GMC is proposing to add more information about doctors to the online medical register in the future. Will you share this information as part of the download service?
Our consultation on developing the online register includes a proposal that doctors could add professional information to the register - on a purely voluntary basis - to help patients make improved choices about their care.
We await the outcome of the consultation to see whether we take forward this particular proposal. If we do go ahead with this, we don't intend to include this voluntary information in the download service.