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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)

  • Bornjovial

    The 32% aged 44 or younger are not in this country anymore. May have to send letters to Australia, NewZealand or Canada

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  • I agree with Bornjovial - the majority of young are in countries where they are treated with respect and enjoying their working lives and quality home lives - the lucky escapees They are not still suffering here in ungreat Britain.

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  • john cormack

    very well put john - will need a lot more facilities and sincerity to get significant numbers back.
    hope you're well

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  • my father - a very wise and sensible gp - used to say "don't expect any thanks off administrators or those in authority, that way you won't be disappointed when you don't get any".

    if those "in charge" started treating us properly (and i include the daily wail), just imagine how much easier it would be for everyone !

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  • Interesting to read the comments about Rita’s. I did a 1 in 2 rota when I qualified. Then it got better, a 1 in 3. Finally a 1 in 4. Tired most of the time with no social life. We propped up the NHS, worked for peanuts - remember UMTs ? Then as a GP on call at night working the next day, with the dreaded ‘ failure to visit’ threat hanging over us. So we visited to avoid complaints. The public took this for granted. CHCs fuelled demand.
    Now there are myriad ways they can shaft you - the GMC, Health Board, patients, government ( remember Thatchers contract with Kenneth Clarke as Health Secretary when Thatcher decided it was good to make it easier for patients to ‘get a home visit’ resulting I more defensive home visit practice?).
    So here we are. A disillusioned retired cohort are now expected to rise to the challenge and rush in to expose themselves to a nasty virus for the greater good. I don’t think so.

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  • Freedom of information. Wondering how many currently registered and licensed doctors from the GMC has come to the frontline using our expired masks. Lead by example.

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  • I am now thinking that being " Let Go " was a blessing in disguise. As a Locum there is no Death in service for me . The worst scenario for a locum runs like this . I am in the frontline with inadequate /No PPE. It is only a matter of time until I succumb. By going home every night I will also be the means by which my family of husband and 2 teenagers have also been infected. Therefore I am now off work but as a self empoloyed person I will get nothing as monetary compensation and therefore now have no income . My Husband is not a doctor but is also self employed so there is now no fsmily income.
    Then the worst happens and I die. As I already said I was not in service therefore no pay out.

    Next worse scenario is that no-one dies and the family have just suffered mild Sx and a financial hit ( like a Lot of others). However when the pain realyy starts and people are being triaged and not getting optimum care and then dying the complaints will start flying and the Lawyers know that the Doctors are the best target and so the Legal feeding frenzy will start. We NHS workers will no longer be the saviours but will be vilified in the Press and the propaganda machine will make us the target for all that pain. And our protection will be " Crown Indemnity"??!!
    Think I will have a Holiday from Doctoring for the next 4 weeks. I can get on with my studying for the Appraisals which will be back on the Menu by sept at the latest

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  • I’d say stay away- you’ve done your bit- it’s actually not safe!
    They want us GPs visiting the sick Covid cases-
    I have experienced this yesterday-( LONDON GP)
    A pregnant patient, high fever and short of breath- couldn’t get a response from 111 yesterday and finally they told her to call her GP. I visited her this morning- assessed her: temp 39.5. sats 94 p 106-
    I Even did bloods- got them back a few hours later.....
    CRP 110 with normal white cell count- was sure it was Covid
    Discussed with med registrar in local big LONDON hospital - “ send her to A&E they’ll triage and call me if we’re needed”- I was gob snacked- pretty sure you’ll be needed mate! I called A&E- to confirm this was the right route....- it was! they have a red and a green zone and she could “go wait in the red zone”. The 999 ambulance call to send her to A&E had us on hold for 1 hour and 45 minutes. I then had to leave to see the next patient- she sent me a message that’s she’s still in A& E waiting to be seen having taken a taxi as couldn’t get through to blue light 999 ambulance! This is the reality! The service is not functioning- god help anyone having a stroke- never mind Covid death rates - what are cardiovascular death rates??? No one left to do normal stuff- all overwhelmed already! There are plans for us to be visiting teams and have red and green hot spots in practices.....

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  • The GMC letter, so lovingly calling all soldiers from the reserves to come back for Queen and Country, needs to spell out the following first:
    1.Will there be indemnity?
    2.What will my family get if I die of the virus picked up at work?
    3. Will I get to say how and where I want to work after this blows over and I am still alive? Or will I be politely(ha) trashed?
    4. What are pay rates?

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