GMC asked to register further groups of doctors

The General Medical Council (GMC) has been asked to grant temporary registration to additional doctors under its emergency powers so that they are able to help with the coronavirus pandemic.

The extension has been agreed with the Chief Medical Officers of the four UK nations. It follows the registration last week and over last weekend of around 15,500 doctors who had given up their registration or licence to practise within the last three years.

Only doctors with no outstanding fitness to practise investigations or sanctions are being given temporary registration. They are able to opt out of temporary registration at any point, for any reason.

This week an additional 18,800 UK-based doctors will be given temporary registration or have their licenses returned and will be able to work if they choose to. These include:

  • a further 12,000 doctors with a UK address who are GMC registered, but who do not currently hold a licence to practise
  • nearly 6,800 doctors with a UK address who gave up their registration between three and six years ago (2014–17).

Contact details of doctors with temporary registration will be shared with health services in the UK nation matching their address. Doctors will be asked to complete a short survey by NHS England to help determine their skills and how they can assist, wherever they live in the UK. This will be shared with the health service in the other three countries if doctors are resident in Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

The GMC has also confirmed it will start the annual provisional registration process for final year medical students next week.

This will potentially make available 7,500 newly qualified doctors to the UK’s healthcare workforce three months earlier than usual, if they are asked and willing to start work.

Students will still need to apply to the GMC for their provisional registration, which will only be granted once their medical school has confirmed their graduation.

Owing to the extraordinary circumstances, the GMC will not charge any fees for registering these students.

Following discussions with the UK's Chief Medical Officers and the Department for Health and Social Care, we have started the process to temporarily register additional groups of doctors who had given up their registration or licence to practise in recent years.
Una Lane, Director of Registration and Revalidation

Una Lane, the GMC’s Director of Registration and Revalidation, said:

‘Following discussions with the UK’s Chief Medical Officers and the Department for Health and Social Care, we have started the process to temporarily register additional groups of doctors who had given up their registration or licence to practise in recent years.

‘We know from the response to the first group temporarily registered last week that many will be keen to help, but we also understand that many will have questions and concerns. Temporary registration allows doctors to work in the NHS, but it would be up to each individual whether or not they would wish to do so and in what capacity.’

The GMC has published a web guide to explain more about the temporary registration process. It also provides information from the four UK governments and health services, to help doctors access the information they need about the practicalities of returning to work.