Privacy and cookies
GMC privacy notice
The aim of this privacy notice is to help you to understand how we use personal data. This is an overview of how we use information but we also provide more detailed information if it is appropriate, for example when we collect data.
We take our responsibilities as a data controller very seriously and are committed to keeping information secure. We are accredited to international information security standards and protect our IT infrastructure in line with industry standards and good practice.
Why we hold it
We are required under legislation, including the Medical Act 1983, to maintain registers of medical practitioners. We are responsible for making sure that doctors on the registers are suitably qualified.
We hold contact information so that we can contact doctors about their registration, annual retention fee payment and fitness to practise investigations. We also contact registered doctors with relevant news, such as new guidance.
What we hold
We hold information about doctors who are registered with us. We also hold information about doctors who apply for registration, and doctors who are no longer registered.
For registration purposes we hold information about a doctor’s nationality, qualifications, employment history, and other relevant evidence in support of their application for registration.
We hold data about doctors’ health and criminal convictions if they have told us this information as part of their application.
When a doctor applies for registration as an international medical graduate we verify their primary medical qualification and, if appropriate, their post graduate qualification. The verification process is carried out on our behalf by an external organisation and may require data to be transferred outside the European Economic Area. We are provided with confirmation of the verification, or with information about any concerns raised through the process.
If a doctor has undergone any Professional and Linguistic Assessments Board (PLAB) test, we will hold information about their assessment history and scores.
We hold contact information about doctors, and depending on how they pay their Annual Retention Fee we also hold bank account or credit card information.
We hold information about fitness to practise incidents which take place while a student is at a UK medical school. This information is provided by students and universities when the student is applying for provisional registration.
How we share it
We are required to make some of this information publicly available on the medical register. Organisations can subscribe to download the medical register; these details are the same as those on the online medical register and do not contain doctors' contact details.
We share non-public registration information with relevant third parties when it is necessary to assist them with their functions or legitimate interests. Third parties include UK health departments, employers, designated bodies, responsible officers, suitable persons and other bodies where appropriate. This information includes date of birth, photograph, passport details, registered email address, registered address and whether a doctor is being investigated under our fitness to practise procedures.
Fitness to practise investigations and sanctions information
Why we hold it
We are required under the Medical Act 1983 to investigate fitness to practise concerns.
If you raise a concern about a doctor with us, we will use the information you provide to investigate those concerns. We detail how we use this information in.
The Medical Act also requires us to share information about fitness to practise investigations with employers and the Department of Health.
What we hold
We hold information about fitness to practise concerns, investigations of concerns, records of hearings, and records of the outcome of our investigations, including sanctions and warnings.
We hold information about patients, including medical records, where it has been provided as part of a complaint or is necessary for our investigation.
We hold information about doctors’ health and criminal convictions where it is relevant to the concern that we’re considering.
We have the power to require the disclosure of medical records if necessary.
How we share it
We are required by law to share details of an investigation with the doctor concerned and their employer.
During an investigation we may disclose details of the investigation to other organisations or individuals where it is necessary for us to carry out our statutory functions.
All fitness to practise sanctions are published on a doctor’s record on the online medical register. Further information about hearings and sanctions issued by a tribunal is published on the MPTS website. You can find further information about warnings and undertakings issued by case examiners on our website. You can find more information about how we publish fitness to practise information, including relevant time periods, in our .
We disclose tribunal hearing bundles to the Disclosure and Barring Service in line with our duties under the Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Groups Act 2006.
We share information about recent sanctions with bodies in the UK and abroad who have a legitimate or statutory interest in this information.
Why we hold it
We conduct and commission research on a range of topics to support our regulatory functions related to registration, fitness to practise, and medical education and training. We generate statistical data based on the information we hold, for example GMC Data Explorer.
We use data profiling to help us understand more about the types of doctor more likely to have fitness to practise issues. This includes using the GMC’s own data about registered doctors and fitness to practise investigations, and may also include data obtained from third parties. Profiling is not used to make automated decisions about a doctor’s registration or fitness to practise.
What we hold
The personal data which we use to carry out our regulatory functions can also be used for research which supports those functions. This includes demographic information, employment and fitness to practise history, and details of complaints.
We obtain further data from third parties to enable research into medical education as part of the UKMED project. The data within UKMED are described in the UKMED data dictionary. The data providers include UCAS, Higher Education Statistical Authority, medical schools, Deaneries and the UK Foundation Programme Office. More information about the data we hold and how we use it us available on the UKMED website.
How we share it
We share personal data with researchers if it is necessary to do so. We only share what is necessary for the research, using secure methods.
Where possible we provide researchers with anonymised or pseudonymised data for research purposes. UKMED research data is always pseudonymised.
When we publish research or statistics we apply disclosure controls to make sure individuals can't be identified from the data.
National training surveys
Why we hold it
The Medical Act 1983 requires us to monitor and report on the standard of medical training in the UK. The survey helps us make sure that doctors in training receive high quality training in a safe and effective clinical environment and trainers are well supported in their role.
We also use the national training surveys to support research into medical training.
What we hold
On an annual basis we issue the national training surveys to doctors in training and their trainers. We hold the answers doctors give us about their experience of postgraduate training.
How we share it
We've published a confidentiality statement about national training surveys data that explains this in more detail.
Why we hold it
We hold records of registration and attendance at GMC events. We hold information about registration and attendance so that we can contact attendees about their event. We also retain information so that we can verify past attendance and plan for future events. We also ask for dietary and access requirements where appropriate so that we can plan the event.
What we hold
We hold information about registrants and attendees at GMC events. This can include name, employment details, contact details, and any dietary and accessibility requirements.
Our delegate management system is operated by a third party acting under contract to the GMC, and they have access to this data where it is necessary for them to do so.
We run consultations on a range of topics related to our regulatory functions. As part of the process we record the names and contact information of respondents, as well as their answers.
Why we hold it
We hold this information so that we can carry out research and analysis of the responses, and keep in touch with respondents about the outcome of the consultation. We ask respondents for their email addresses so that we can confirm registration on our consultation site, contact them if they forget their password and notify them of any upcoming consultations that are in line with their interests, where they have asked us to do so.
How we share it
At the end of the consultation process, we will publish reports explaining our findings and conclusions. We won’t include any personally identifiable information in these reports, but may include illustrative quotes from consultation responses. We may also provide responses to third parties for quality assurance or to approved research projects, which are anonymised before disclosure where possible.
Retention periods for personal data
Our records retention schedule explains how long we will keep personal data for.
GMC job site
You have the right under data protection legislation to access and control the information we hold about you, although there are also exemptions from those rights. Below is information on your rights and details of what to do if you have a question.
Accessing your data
You're entitled to request a copy of the personal data we hold about you. To do this, you can email email@example.com. We will usually respond within one month, but if the request is complex or involves large amounts of data, this may take up to three months to respond.
There is usually no charge for making a request. But we have the right to request a fee if the request is unfounded or excessive.
In some cases we don't have to provide a copy of the data because an exemption applies. This is likely to be because:
- the data is also the personal data of another person and it would not be reasonable to disclose it to you without their consent
- disclosing the data would prejudice our regulatory functions, for example by making it difficult for us to conduct a fair fitness to practise investigation
- disclosing your data would impair research being conducted by or on behalf of the GMC.
Controlling how we use your data
You have the right under the General Data Protection Regulation to control how we use your data, by asking us to delete it or limit how we use it. To do this you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
But there are some exemptions we want you to be aware of. We don’t have to comply with a request to delete or stop using your personal data if, for example:
- we are legally required to use your personal data in a particular way.
- we are using your data to carry out our statutory functions, because there are strong public interest and patient safety grounds for us to process personal data which we need to carry out our role.
- we are processing your data for research purposes and deleting the data would impair our research objectives.
There are other exemptions which can apply in particular circumstances. If we don’t intend to comply with a request we will tell you why this is the case.
Our contact details
The data controller for the processing described in this policy is the General Medical Council. The Data Protection Officer is Andrew Ledgard. You can contact him by emailing email@example.com.
If you are unhappy about how we use your personal data, you have the right to complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office. You can find out more about this at www.ico.org.uk.
We use several social media sites and applications to raise awareness of our work and promote good medical practice. Please note that your use of these sites will be subject to each one’s terms and conditions. Please read their privacy and cookie notices carefully and check your personal settings where appropriate to make sure you're happy with how your information will be used by the social media site. We don’t actively collect data you submit to any third party websites, but may collect aggregated information (that doesn’t identify you) to help us monitor access to our content.
Our website analytics and data
We use Google Analytics to monitor site usage. For information on how to opt-out of tracking by Google products, please visit their safeguarding your data page.
As part of Google Analytics, we have enabled Google Advertising Features. These features allow us to view general aggregated demographic information about our users, such as age group, gender, interest categories, etc.
To opt-out of this tracking across Google's Advertising Network, please visit Google's Ads Settings page.
We use Hotjar to better understand our users’ needs and to optimise their service and experience. Hotjar is a technology service that helps us better understand our users experience (eg how much time they spend on which pages, which links they choose to click, what users do and don’t like, etc). This helps us build and maintain our service with user feedback.
We work with our digital agency partners, Mando and Creed Communications, to continuously improve your digital experience with us. As a result, they have access to our Google Analytics and Hotjar accounts as a Data Processor, providing advice on how to improve our user experience.
When we provide services, we want to make them easy, useful and reliable. Where services are delivered on the internet, this sometimes involves placing small amounts of information on your device, for example your computer or your mobile phone. These include small files known as cookies. Cookies can't be used to identify you personally. But in some cases, we may record your computer’s IP address in a cookie so we can remember your preferences when you visit our website.
These pieces of information are used to improve services for you through, for example:
- enabling a service to recognise your device so you don’t have to give the same information several times during one task
- recognising that you may already have given a username and password so you don’t need to give it for every page you visit
- measuring how many people are using our services, so we can make them easier to use and make sure there’s enough capacity run them
- analysing anonymised data to help us understand how people interact with our services so we can make them better.
We use two types of cookies: session cookies and persistent cookies.
Session cookies are stored only for the duration of your visit to the website. These are deleted from your device when your browsing session ends. Persistent cookies are used where we need to know who you are for more than one usage session. For example, if you have asked us to remember preferences like your location or your username.
We are subject to the EC Privacy and Electronic Communications directive (otherwise known as the e-privacy directive). As part of our approach to being compliant with this directive, we're keen to provide information on the cookies currently in use on our websites below.
How to control and delete cookies
If you don’t want cookies to be stored on your devices, you can modify your browser’s settings so that it notifies you when cookies are sent to it and can decide whether to accept them, or so that it refuses them automatically. You can also delete cookies that have already been set.
The Help function within your browser should tell you how. Alternatively, you may wish to visit www.aboutcookies.org, which contains comprehensive information on how to do this on a wide variety of desktop browsers.
Please be aware that restricting cookies may affect the functionality of our websites.
|ASP.NET_SessionId||Used by ASP.NET to store a unique identifier for your session. The session cookie is not persisted on your hard disk.||Session|
|SC_ANALYTICS_GLOBAL_COOKIE||Sitecore Content Management System and is used for web analytics to identify repeat visits by unique users.
|GMCAcceptCookies||This is set when you click on 'Accept cookies'||Persistent|
|These are Google Analytics cookies used to collect information about which pages are popular and number of visitors to our site. The cookies collect information in an anonymous form. We use the information to compile reports and to help us improve the site||Persistent|
|_hjClosedSurveyInvites, _hjDonePolls, _hjMinimizedPolls, _hjDoneTestersWidgets, _hjMinimizedTestersWidgets, _hjDoneSurveys, _hjIncludedInSample, _hjShownFeedbackMessage.||These are Hotjar analytics cookies used to collect information on page usage. The cookies collect information in an anonymous form. We use the information to compile reports and to help us improve the site.||Persistent|
Our recruitment website
|sessionid2965||Allows user to select job alerts by email.||Session|
|lastaccesstime2965||Captures date and time of visit.||Session|
|Ccp_user2965||Captures candidate userid - only set if user registers to use the site and allows user to apply for jobs.||Session|
|Ccp_name2965||Captures candidate name - only set if user registers to use the site and allows user to apply for jobs.||Session|
|Wedeputy_reg_username_3552||Captures candidate username - only set if user registers to use the site and allows user to apply for jobs.||Session|
|Wedeputy_reg_email_3552||Captures candidate email address - only set if user registers to use the site and allows user to apply for jobs.||Session|
|_utma, _utmb, utmc, _utmz||These are Google Analytics cookies used to collect information about which pages are popular and number of visitors to our site. The cookies collect information in an anonymous form. We use the information to compile reports and to help us improve the site.||Persistent|
|_hjClosedSurveyInvites, _hjDonePolls, _hjMinimizedPolls, _hjDoneTestersWidgets, _hjMinimizedTestersWidgets, _hjDoneSurveys, _hjIncludedInSample, _hjShownFeedbackMessage||These are Hotjar analytics cookies used to collect information on page usage. The cookies collect information in an anonymous form. We use the information to compile reports and to help us improve the site.||Persistent|
|jsessionid||This cookie is necessary to upload a file to GMC Connect.||Session|
Third party cookies
The following cookies are set by third parties who provide a service to the GMC:
- Our website – www.gmc-uk.org
|WEBTRENDS_ID||This is our analytics provider Webtrends’ cookie used to collect information about which pages are popular and number of visitors to our site. We use the information to compile reports and to help us improve the site.||Persistent|
|ACOOKIE||This is our analytics provider Webtrends’ cookie used to collect information about which pages are popular and number of visitors to our site. We use the information to compile reports and to help us improve the site.||Persistent|
Some of our microsites use session variables to record your responses. Session variables are different to cookies because they are stored on the server relative to the session, rather than your device. Session variables are semi-permanent data files that exist only while your session with an application is active. Session variables are specific to each visitor and are deleted when you close the browser.