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GMC statement on locum tax issue

GMC Statement

07 Apr 2017

Medical regulator issues guidance on contractual obligations

We would expect doctors planning to withdraw their services would give sufficient notice in line with their contractual agreements

Susan Goldsmith, Deputy Chief Executive

Susan Goldsmith, Deputy Chief Executive and Registrar of the General Medical Council, said:

'We are aware that some locum doctors have told hospitals that they may withdraw services following new tax rules coming into effect. While matters of pay and contracts are for individual trusts to resolve with those staff, our chief concern is patient safety.

‘Health services are under severe pressure and we know that providers and the medical profession are working hard to cope with demand. Any unreasonable withdrawal of staff may exacerbate that pressure, and we would expect doctors planning to withdraw their services would give sufficient notice in line with their contractual agreements.

'In this way disruption to patient care and risk to patient safety can be minimised, and doctors can adhere to our core guidance for the profession, Good medical practice. That states: “Patient safety may be affected if there is not enough medical cover. So you must take up any post you have formally accepted, and work your contractual notice period before leaving a job, unless the employer has reasonable time to make other arrangements.”


Notes to editors

The General Medical Council (GMC) is an independent organisation that helps to protect patients and improve medical education and practice across the UK.

  • We decide which doctors are qualified to work here and we oversee UK medical education and training.
  • We set the standards that doctors need to follow, and make sure that they continue to meet these standards throughout their careers.
  • We take action when we believe a doctor may be putting the safety of patients, or the public's confidence in doctors, at risk.

We are independent of government and the medical profession and accountable to Parliament. Our powers are given to us by Parliament through the Medical Act 1983.

We are a registered charity (number 1089278 with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, and number SC037750 with the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator), we have to show that our aims are for public benefit.

The GMC Media Relations Office can be contacted on 020 7189 5454, email

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