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GMC asks 5,000 unlicensed GPs to return to work in coronavirus crisis

The GMC is contacting 15,000 doctors - including nearly 5,000 GPs - who may be granted temporary registration to help to deal with coronavirus.

It is currently writing to those who gave up their registration or licence to practise within the last three years but are still considered ‘fully qualified, experienced and of good standing’, with a UK address. 

Around 33% - almost 5,000 - of these are GPs. The vast majority of the doctors (83%) are in England, with 10%; 4% and 3% in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively. 

Their average age is 53, although approximately 32% are aged 44 or younger.

Temporary registration for these doctors would be automatic and allow them to work if they wanted to, but they can opt out for any reason.

In these instances, the GMC would not grant temporary registration. Doctors are also permitted to change their mind at any time, including if they initially opt out, but then decide at a later stage of the pandemic to return to practice. At no stage will they be obliged to work.

Under emergency legislation, health secretary Matt Hancock has powers to ask the GMC to automatically grant temporary registration to doctors who are not currently in practice.

Once this takes place, the contact details of the eligible cohort of doctors would be shared with the UK’s health services, who would then contact each member in due course, to discuss the logistics of them returning to work. 

Una Lane, director of registration and revalidation at the GMC, said: ‘We expect the UK Government to ask us to grant temporary registration to doctors living in the UK who are not currently in practice. We know 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 to do so. Doctors can opt out for any reason and they can change their mind at any time.

‘The potential deployment of these doctors, and any questions relating to their pay or pensions, are matters for the NHS and the UK Governments.’

Doctors who have temporary registration during this crisis will not be required to pay any registration fee to the GMC, nor be subject to revalidation.

Yesterday, the GMC also announced that it will defer revalidation for current GPs, to ‘free up vital time’ on the coronavirus ‘frontline’.

Readers' comments (40)

  • FIRSTLY THE GMC MUST PROVIDE AN "EMERGENCY APOLOGY" FOR "REPEATED BULLYING AND TERROR TACTICS AGAINST ALL DOCTORS THEN REFER THEMSELVES FOR A FORMAL DISCIPLINARY AND THEN STRIKE THEMSELVES OFF"....THEY HAVE DISGRACED THEMSELVES REPEATEDLY THEN HAVE THE DAMN CHEEK TO APPROACH RETIRED DOCTORS, HOW DARE THEY BEHAVE IN THIS WAY WITHOUT A GROVELLING APOLOGY FIRST.

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  • Roll Up, Roll Up, come and frolic with your colleagues in the plague. Someone else may pay you or maybe they won’t. You may live through it or maybe you won’t. Alhamdulillah

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  • So I retired in December am still registered with GMC my practice doesn’t need me back at the moment but may if health workers are affected. Does the NHS want me to go back or not yet and would they want me to redeploy within the PCN where there are gaps or in the local hospital. Will it be paid by the CCG/NHSE or voluntary in the National interest can pulse put this to the relevant minister

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  • DrRubbishBin

    You've got to be fairly well motivated not to be working as a Dr to give up your registration. I'm surprised the average age is only 53. I cant see these folk 'rushing back' - if I was them I wouldn't. If they are worried about keeping people working why arent they testing them for coronovirus?

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  • Vinci Ho

    Una Lane, director of registration and revalidation at the GMC, said: ‘We expect the UK Government to ask us to grant temporary registration to doctors living in the UK who are not currently in practice. We know many will be keen to help, but we also understand that many will have questions and concerns.

    First , would expect the most senior person to give a statement of this kind.
    Second , would expect more sincerity and attempts to raise morale . This is against a backdrop of a GP retention and recruitment crisis . GMC should be humbled by this once in a lifetime pandemic crisis . The prime minister has already been.
    Third , yes , we would put aside differences and serve the nation in time like this . Like Jaimie wrote , the judgement and revolution can only be visited after this national emergency is over .

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  • Is that one third of 15000 doctors in total or one third of 5000 ex-GPs? Either way, how is it so many numbers of under 44 year old doctors are no longer registered are licensed to practice?! And that number is only in the past 3 years.

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  • no way

    i cancelled my registration completely recently--no monies to gmc

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  • The very young ages of the doctors involved just shows how disillusioned they were to have left in the first place. I went to the line at 60, mainly to avoid the penalty on my pension and don't want to return to General Practice. For me the war is over.

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  • Do they have age limit whom they will ask to come back?
    I am 70+ and last working day was this Monday. Do they advise me not to go back in view of my age??
    What others god think?

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  • Once again, where are the PPEs? Each infected doctor will spread to at least 30 to 40 patients who will then spread to as a minimum their families. It is terrible that China's doctors, other industries get protection doing their jobs but health and safety does not apply to us. Cannon fodder.

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