Unregistered medical practice

Unregistered medical practice is against the law 

Doctors practising medicine in the UK must have registration with a licence to practise. It is illegal if they practise medicine without this and is something that we would need to look into.

You can find out a doctor's registration status by searching the medical register online.  

Search the medical register

Report someone who is practising medicine illegally  

If you are concerned that someone may be practising without registration and a licence to practise, please email us at: urp@gmc-uk.org or call us on 0161 923 6602.

To help us to investigate, we need the following information:

  • the name of the person
  • details of what happened
  • who you have already reported this to and the outcome (if applicable)
  • any evidence you have to support this, such as emails, website address, advertisements
  • consent for us to share this information with other relevant individuals or organisations. 

If you find that a doctor is registered with a licence to practise, but you still have concerns about them, you can make a complaint.

What can we do if someone is practising medicine illegally?

When we receive information suggesting that an individual may be practising medicine without registration, we will investigate where possible and take appropriate action in line with The Medical Act 1983

Depending on the circumstances, we may:

  • advise the individual of the law
  • send cease and desist notices
  • make a referral to the police which may lead to prosecution, a criminal record and a substantial fine.

We can’t investigate practitioners who work in other healthcare professions, you would need to refer to the professions regulator. 

Falsely using protected titles 

It is illegal to falsely use the protected titles below: 

  • doctor of medicine
  • general practitioner (GP)
  • surgeon
  • physician 
  • licentiate in medicine and surgery
  • bachelor of medicine
  • apothecary, or
  • any name, title, or description implying that they are registered with us.

The title Doctor on its own is not a protected title as it can be an academic qualification (eg a PhD), not always linked to the practice of medicine. Therefore a person can legitimately use the title Doctor without needing registration with us, as long as they are not practising medicine or claiming to have registration with us.