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The waiting game

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’.

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Readers' comments (40)

  • The restaurants are giving us more than any NHS or GMC. Just 8 weeks ago we were being smashed to bits, now they're begging. I don't want suffering. But, restaurants are giving us more respect with 50% off and free hot drinks. Even free hotel beds nearby hospital so we dodn't need to sleep on tables on night shift and be shafted by the HR department on countless occasions. We've all put our pennies in...let us choose as we wish if we go back to the General.

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  • Germany has six times the number of intensive care beds, respirators and the staff experienced in using them than we have. That is why their mortality rate is low.

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  • The GMC has got a lot of work to do in terms of getting trust back. They have been shafting doctors for too long for us to rush to the front line to risk getting infected.

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  • Sounds like a voluntary return to Colditz castle for many,recalling memories of the excercise yard and "the cooler ".
    GMC would put huge hurdles in the way, were you to try to return under normal circumstances,but here verty happy to fascilitate a journey into the abyss.
    If you wanted to stay on after the emergency is over ?
    "We will now automatically return you to your previous status,it's the least we can do under the circumstances,the medical acts do not allow us to do otherwise".

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  • I spent 20 years digging my tunnel out of that dungeon.
    And if they think I’m sleep-walking back into multiple jeopardy and sadistic vilification, then they’ve obviously forgotten what a 1-in-2 rota was.

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  • The GMC is doing its job. All doctors should call on the GMC to refund and suspend payment of dues for this year. Reason is simple enough, some of us will pay them with our lives during this pandemic.

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  • *and I’m delighted that most readers of these posts will not know what a 1-in2 means either.
    Good on you.
    “Don’t look back, it’s not where you’re headed.”

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  • What about medical indemnity?
    Doctors have been abused by the state for some time now.

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  • I left general practice 2 months ago ( right time it seems).
    I would help and actually would want to help.
    However the regulators and lawyers are vindictive and unfair.
    So I won’t

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  • @11:04
    You make one mistake, and they’ll make a smoothie out of your gonads.

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