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8,500 doctors face removal of their license after failing to engage with revalidation

Exclusive More than 8,500 doctors face having their licence to practise removed by the GMC for failing to respond to communications regarding revalidation, official figures show.

The regulator told Pulse that 23,789 doctors have not responded to communications regarding revalidation or not confirmed their designated body as of 1 August.

Of these, 8,543 doctors face having their licence to practise removed after they were targeted multiple times in the ‘Make Your Connection’ campaign launched by the GMC in April 2012, and did not respond. Of these, 4,179 doctors have registered addresses in the UK.

The GMC said it would be writing to these doctors next month to give them a deadline to respond before action is taken to remove their licence to practise.

In addition, 15,246 doctors have not confirmed their connection with a designated body, with 10,882 of these doctors registered with a UK address. The GMC said it will make further attempts to contact these doctors about revalidation as some may be recent registrants and others may be seeking employment and do not have a suitable employer yet.

A GMC spokesperson warned doctors who do not respond risk losing their licence to practise. She said: ‘We wrote to all doctors in January this year to confirm the date of their first revalidation and to ask those that hadn’t already done so to confirm their designated body.

‘Later this year we will write out again to the doctors from the “Make Your Connection” campaign who have not yet responded to us.

‘If they fail to respond to our request for information about their designated body, either to confirm their designated body or to tell us that currently they do not have a designated body, they will be putting their licence to practise at risk.’

Dr John Grenville, medical secretary of Derbyshire LMC, urged doctors to respond to the GMC’s communications: ‘It’s very surprising. I can’t believe doctors are unaware of the requirement of keeping the GMC notified of their address, or confirming their designated body.

‘Except with the possible position of the terminally ill, they need to get on with it. They will have had enough warning. If they don’t do something about it and they are not revalidated they will find themselves without a license to practise. The law is the law and doctors have to follow it.’

Family Doctor Association chair Dr Peter Swinyard said the figures showed large numbers of doctors were taking the ‘ostrich approach’ to revalidation.

He added: ‘There will be all sorts of shades of reasons from “I know I’m alright so I don’t need to be revalidated”; the GP professor-type who doesn’t think the GMC should be interfering with his practice; right the way through to the terminally disorganised.

‘But the terminally disorganised will be terminated. They will suddenly realise they don’t have a licence to practise. The axe is waiting to fall. There will be rump of refuseniks who will realise they can’t work. They’ll get a shock.’

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Readers' comments (39)

  • Time to end this damaging and expensive farce?

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  • Revalidation was one of the principal reasons for me (a) retiring and (b) never coming back to medicine. It is expensive, bureaucratic, overbearing and unfit for any purpose except aggrandising a piss-poor organisation, and allowing Government increased control of professionals.

    We said that in the past bust, hey, no-one listens to rank-and-file doctors like us any more.

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  • Over-regulation=increased exodus of doctors=Government couldn't care less!

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  • Surely it's time for those who came up with this hare-brained scheme to be held to account for the damage they are doing? Doctors should be calling for the resignation of the architects of revalidation because it is endangering patients by wasting scarce resources.

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  • It looks as though about half of the doctors being targeted do not have a registered address in the UK.
    If they are practicing elsewhere in the world, what effect would removing their license to practice have?
    Presumably the numbers don't include doctors who have emigrated after obtaining certificates of good standing to allow registration abroad.
    Do doctors with aid organisations - e.g. Medicin sans Frontiers - or VSO have to bbe revalidated/prove that they keep up to date and if so how is this organised?

    I've also retired - but because of the Health & Social Care Act rather than revalidation!

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  • I run the risk of being struck of the register and failing revalidation because I am so busy looking after patients and also doing commisioning work. I feel I offer a good service, do plenty of reflection, keep myself up to date and continuiously strive to offer better patient care. What I don't have is time to document everything!!

    Revalidation provides an unfair advantage to the idle! Controversial, but you get my point. A lot of good doctors I know simply lack time for yet more tick box exercises.

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  • Agree. Headlines such as these play into the hands of the Daily Mail and iother doctor bashing organisations. How many are abroad? How many are just about to retire ? How many are GPs? says DOCTORS not GPS and the GMC has 180,000+ doctors on its books

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  • All doctors in the UK should simulataneously agree not to engage with the process until it is shelved. This people power would be very effective. There should still be processes for poorly performing doctors, but decent, hard working doctors should not have to be subjected to the current demeaning and patronising revalidation system ... We have managed thousands of years of medicine without revalidation - do we really need it now?

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  • i agree with most of the above , unfortunately i have a young family and have my hands tied in terms of making a stand against the government who seem to be hell bent on breaking the profession , we need more leadership from the gp's in a position to retire to lead the way in standing up to this government who's agenda is to micromanage and erode further our independence.

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  • You have to laugh!

    That's £3.5 million reduction in GMC income at a stroke!

    I wonder who will be making up the difference ?

    One of the best things about taking VER was to take voluntary erasure from the GMC and never to have anything more to do with the idiots !

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