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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Revalidation has forced 63 doctors to quit medicine since January, says GMC

Exclusive Over 60 doctors have cited revalidation as the reason for relinquishing their licence to practise since January, reveal official GMC figures that show a rise in the number of GPs quitting practising medicine in the UK.

GMC figures show a 74% rise in GPs giving up their license to practise in the UK, with 258 GPs voluntarily giving up their license from January to March 2013, compared with 148 in the same period last year.

Doctors who relinquish their license to practice will remain on the GMC register but will no longer be able to work in the UK.

Earlier this year, the GMC commissioned a survey of doctors to provide a clear picture on how many doctors are likely to give up their registration or license to practice due to revalidation, but cannot say when the results will be published.

However, the latest figures show 63 doctors cited revalidation as the reason they relinquished their registration or license to practise, with the majority blaming moving overseas (1,142) or retirement (797).

Of the 63 doctors, 33 were from outside the UK and 21 of the doctors are around retirement age, said the GMC.

A GMC spokesperson said the analysis showed that ‘revalidation is not currently a significant reason given by doctors for requesting removal from the medical register or relinquishing their license to practice.’

In March, the regulator had forecasted a potential £2.3m loss due to revalidation discouraging more doctors not to renew their licence to practice. A Pulse survey in 2011 found one in 10 GPs said they intend to leave before revalidation came into effect.

Some 839 doctors opted to give up their GMC registration from January to March 2013, compared with 687 over the same period in 2012. There was also a small increase in GPs requesting a removal of their GMC registration, meaning they will no longer hold registration or a licence to practise - increasing from 258 in January to March 2013, compared with 218 over the same period in 2012.

Dr Mohammed Jiva, medical secretary of Rochdale and Bury LMC said that many doctors will not want to jump through the hoops of revalidation, resulting in a loss of experienced doctors.

He said: ‘A lot of doctors will need to be revalidated to keep their license to practise, but there’s so many hurdles they have to jump through that they will just not bother. They’ll go abroad, or give up their licence.’

‘In time, the GMC will notice that more doctors at the retirement age will drop off rather than be revalidated. Which is a shame. When we really do need the doctors at a time of crisis, they won’t be licensed and their experience won’t be available to younger doctors. In times gone by we could have brought them out of retirement to help - but not anymore.’

Readers' comments (14)

  • I bet those GPs had already taken "48 hr retirement" and finally decided it wasn't worth the extra hassle.Just go and enjoy your retirement.

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  • David Bush

    For me the most telling statistic is that 1142 moved overseas, compared with just 797 retiring! Bit worrying?

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  • However they got this experiment past the ethics committee mystifies me. Revalidation is not evidenced based and hugely resource intensive. The architects of this should hand their heads in shame because it is the patients who suffer the consequences. Did the GMC not notice were're not exactly flush with doctors at the moment?

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  • Seriously, isn't it time those who brought this rubbish in considered their positions?

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  • Revalidation is work without pay. In most juristictions this is illegal.

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  • It's always a shame to lose some experienced old pilots but who's sorry their pilot has to take a competence test to fly? Not me and not our patients.

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  • Unfortunately revalidation is not a competence test....

    If only it were that simple.

    Just proves that revalidation provides a (false) reassurance to the general public

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  • To anonymous 08.55.

    Pilots do not have to pay for their assessment, the firms they work for do this. Nor does it take hours of unpaid work to prepare for this assessment. They are also only checked out on the type of plane they are currently flying, not the 10+ specialities we have to be knowledgable in. They are also limited the the max hours they can work in any one week is 30 hours and 100 hrs per 30 days.
    Looks rather like part time work compared with the hours a GP works.
    I used to fly in the RAF and certainly know that I worked far more hours as a GP.

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  • Isn't this a misleading headline?
    63 doctors cited revalidation as a reason for giving up license to practice.
    Most of these will have a date some time in the future: if revalidation is an issue - and if planning retirement or emigration within near future - why go through the incredibly tortuous process? but no need to give up license/remove yourself from the GMC register (itself a complicated business!) before revalidation date!
    If these are doctors who have already abdicated license to practice, its unlikely to be purely due to future revalidation - and certainly not to being "forced" before they have had any opportunity to have "failed" revalidation!

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  • So 63 doctors want to quit because of revalidation. Take away the 33 who were from outside the UK (and therefore don't need a GMC licence) and the 21 who were due to retire anyway. By my maths that leaves 9 doctors out of 235,000 who have voluntarily relinquished their licence to practise and have quoted revalidation as a factor. Pulse may be overplaying the outrage and indignation here - this could easily be interpreted as a ringing endorsement. The ex-RAF pilot seems to be suggesting that GPs shouldn't have to keep up to date because there's just too much to cover - I'm not sure our patients would agree with that.

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