I'm retired and thinking of giving up my licence. What should I do?

Dr Littleman is a retired GP. He now works as a nutritionist and homeopathic practitioner in his own practice.

He no longer prescribes any medication other than over the counter medications or homeopathic remedies.

Dr Littleman keeps up to date by attending meetings of relevant specialist associations. He also undertakes audits of patients in his practice to monitor their conditions. However, the doctor is finding the requirements for appraisal and revalidation daunting and is considering giving up his licence.

Does Dr Littleman need a licence to practise?

We can’t tell Dr Littleman whether he needs a licence to practise. It is his responsibility to establish whether he needs one for the work he does. 

Dr Littleman must be absolutely clear with patients whether he has a licence to practise or not. It’s important to remember that it is a criminal offence to say or do anything intended to suggest he holds a licence if he doesn’t. If he does give up his licence, we’d recommend that he regularly reviews his registration status in case the nature of his work changes over time.

Where can Dr Littleman get advice?

We would normally advise a doctor to talk to their employer about licence requirements. But as Dr Littleman is running his own practice, he might find it helpful to review our employer and doctor discussion list to help with his decision making on whether he needs a licence.

Dr Littleman should talk to his medical defence organisation (or the organisation that provides his insurance or indemnity) to check if they have any requirements for him to hold a licence for the cover they provide. The medical defence organisation might also be able to give him advice generally about holding a licence based on their experience of doctors working in similar roles. 

If he chooses to keep his licence, he could also look at the revalidation resources on our website which include case studies, guidance and links to other organisations that could provide advice about meeting the revalidation requirements.