Information for responsible officers

Our approach to fitness to practise

We know that you and your team are under immense pressure. We’ve taken steps to minimise the impact of our investigations on the profession and health services, while continuing to keep patients safe.

This includes limiting our requests for information from healthcare providers and healthcare professionals, holding phone meetings with patients where possible, and pausing all new and reconvened medical practitioners tribunal hearings.

Read more about our current approach to fitness to practise


We’ve changed our approach to revalidation to support you, and the UK’s health services, to prioritise frontline clinical care for patients during this challenging period.

  • We've deferred revalidation dates for all doctors who are due to revalidate before the end of September, for one year.
  • Doctors who have been given temporary registration with a licence to practise don’t need to revalidate.
  • Appraisals are managed as part of local clinical governance. This means you can decide whether to pause or cancel appraisals in your organisation.

We’re closely monitoring developments on the frontline, and we’ll let you know if we decide to introduce any additional changes.

Temporary registration

The UK government has asked us to give temporary registration or a licence to practise to suitable people, as part of the response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This applies to doctors with a UK address who:

  • left the register after March 2014
  • had registration but didn’t have a licence to practise.

Doctors who’ve been given temporary registration with a licence to practise don’t have any open fitness to practise investigations, sanctions or conditions on their practice.

All of these doctors have a choice about returning to work. They can opt out of temporary registration or ask us to remove their temporary licence to practise, at any time.

Read our temporary registration information for responsible officers

Our ethical guidance

Our professional standards for doctors provide a framework for ethical decision making in a wide range of situations. Doctors should continue to follow our guidance as far as is practical in the circumstances. But as the situation develops, it’s likely that some doctors will need to depart from established procedures to care for patients.

Our ethical hub has advice on the most common questions we’ve been asked about practising at this challenging time. We hope this will be a useful resource for you and the doctors you work with.

Keeping you up to date

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we’ve taken steps to support the healthcare system and enable doctors to be on the frontline, where patients need them most.

This page contains information about our approach to regulation and how we’re supporting the profession, and patients, during this challenging time. We’ll update it with new information or advice as the situation the develops.

Although we’re following UK government advice by temporarily closing our offices, our teams are working from home and we continue to deliver our key services. Our contact centre remains open, we’re processing applications for registration, and we’re running online courses for doctors new to UK practice. Check our status of our services page for more information.

If you have any questions or need advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your employer liaison adviser.