Working with doctors Working for patients

Review of the routes to GP and specialist registration

We consulted on routes to the GP and specialist registers from 15 March to 15 June 2012.

The general practitioner (GP) and specialist registers list those doctors who are eligible to work as GPs or as substantive, fixed term or honorary consultants in the NHS. To join these registers, doctors have to demonstrate that they have the knowledge, skills and experience needed to practise medicine at this level. Many doctors do this through completing a formal training programme that we’ve approved and gaining a certificate of completion of training (CCT).

Some doctors who have not gone through a GMC approved specialist or GP training programme may still have done equivalent training and experience. If so, they can apply to have their eligibility for GP or specialist registration with the GMC assessed through what are referred to as the ‘equivalence’ or CESR/CEGPR route to registration.

The consultation sought views on proposed changes to the way doctors are assessed for GP or specialist registration through the equivalence route.

Why we consulted on the equivalence routes to the registers

In March 2010, Lord Naren Patel published a series of recommendations (pdf) for how the GMC should regulate medical education and training in the future. Among his recommendations, Lord Patel proposed that we should review how doctors who have not completed general practice (GP) training or specialist training in the UK can be granted GP or specialist registration if they have demonstrated equivalent knowledge and experience in other ways. Lord Patel said that the aim of the review should be to ensure that the processes for establishing equivalence are ‘fair, efficient and fit for purpose, and … continue to ensure standards are maintained’. He particularly noted concerns about the current arrangements for assessing the equivalence of applicants.

In the light of this, we set up a working group to review the current arrangements, which have been operating since 2005. The group’s conclusions are set out in the report at Annex A (pdf) to this consultation document.

This consultation sought feedback on the report’s recommendations and invited comments on a number of questions arising from them.

The consultation

The consultation ran from 15 March to 15 June 2012. In September 2012 Council approved the consultation report and agreed 13 recommendations arising from the review.

Consultation documents: