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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.’