Around 18,000 non-NHS doctors have failed to engage with revalidation and risk losing their licence to practise, said the GMC.
The GMC said the doctors have failed to engage with the GMC despite several attempts to make contact. Its analysis shows that none of the doctors work in the NHS, almost half have an overseas address and more than a tenth are aged 65 or older.
The regulator added it will write to the doctors giving their revalidation date, but if they fail to respond the GMC will take steps to remove their license to practice medicine.
GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: ‘There may be doctors who are not responding because want to give up their license and this is the point they’re going to do it. There will be a host of reasons, not necessarily just that they’re wilful.’
Una Lane, director of registration and revalidation at the GMC said: ‘Revalidation is now a legal process and doctors must engage with that process. The bottom line is that if they continue to fail to engage with us then we will take steps to remove their license.’
Dr Kailash Chand, deputy chair of the BMA and a retired GP, said: ‘We can’t let these 18,000 people go with these skills.
‘There are many [older doctors] who are concerned and can just call it a day with this huge paperwork.
He said he has spoken to ‘several’ semi-retired doctors who are being put off the revalidation process if they just want to work a day a week.
The GMC also said that PCTs were within their rights to seek more information from doctors for revalidation than was required by the GMC.
The GMC admitted there anecdotally they have heard of examples of PCTs seeking more information from doctors for revalidation than was required by the GMC.
It said it was ‘perfectly appropriate’ for PCTs to set certain contractual requirements for inclusion on the performers lists that have nothing to do with revalidation.
Una Lane added: ‘We’re quite clear about what all requirements are- that’s the absolute minimum that a doctor needs to do to be revalidated. What happens between PCTs, health boards and individual doctors is a contractual matter.’
GPC member Dr Beth McCarron-Nash, said: ‘I find it completely unacceptable l that different areas require different evidence for appraisal. It is completely iniquitous and unfair.’
‘With the pension changes, CQC and contract changes I think a perfect storm is brewing, with many older GPs thinking about retirement.’