How to Keep a UK’s GMC License to Practice
you are working abroad for more than a year you
could lose your UK GMC license to practice in the UK , and worse still you could lose your position on the NHS GP performers' list unless you follow
You may be aware that that overseas
practice, that means anywhere
where there is no UK NHS, is seen by some as a career break, which of
nonsense as you are learning more than staying at home. This xenophobic
that anything outside the NHS is beyond the pale has coloured RCGP and
thinking. Even the Channel Islands and all British Overseas Territories are
regarded as foreign by these institutions. The
GMC has been much more pragmatic, but we have to
worry about the interpretation
by local health authorities, as bureaucrats look for
from RCGP COGPED and NHS bodies.
There are two linked issues. You
need to stay on the performers’ list so
you can go back into general practice on return to the UK.
Then you need to be
revalidated by the GMC to continue to have a licence to practice in the
The performers’ list requires that you work one day a year in
the UK as a GP and
do an annual appraisal, and being revalidated requires five appraisals
few up to the new required standard.
When working abroad you do not want to burn your bridges, and need to
to come back to the UK without having to "retrain". Another
reason to keep a UK license is that that foreign registration
authorities and employers may not favour the GMC tag line
licensed to practice” when looking you up on the GMC
web site. The GMC is quite phlegmatic about giving up and
regaining the license to practice, and believes doctors should not be
fearful of doing so. I suspect the GMC fears being seen to
on the role of licensing doctors to practice overseas, but that licensing is always the responsbility of
jurisdictions of the host country.
The GMC is not involved in
the performers' lists whose management is fragmented across the UK, so we do we know
retraining rules to get back onto GP performers' list.
Retraining is a nonsense concept for those working
in primary care almost anywhere as so much is based on British
suggestion of retraining implies that you are not in contact with home,
that the jet aircraft let alone the internet have not
been invented. Yes, at one time keeping
in contact with Blighty when overseas required letter, telegraph and
I had been working almost full time overseas for seven
years. I was revalidated after six and have my licence to practice
UK for another five years. I am working again in London as if I never left. I gained useful
overseas for UK practice, and like to think, as does my appraiser, that
overseas experience contributed to NHS practice.
is to continue with your
UK NHS appraisals until you have decided you are never going back to
the UK; then
you can give up appraisals and stop paying the GMC fee.
Appraisals are good for you, and doing them
makes overseas CPD
Here are my
voluntarily give up your license to practice when you have decided to
We do not know the potential difficulty in getting the
license back on your return or back onto the preformers' list. Any
bureaucrat will find it is safer to
say no and interpret rules and opinions they see from any source
strictly, requiring retraining of some sort on return. It is
a huge risk giving up one’s license. Don’t, unless
never coming back.
Authorities do not need to know your future plans or where you plan to
work other than you do plan to do locums in your area so need to be on
the performers’ list.
resigning from your
partnership make sure you transfer from provider to performer on the
National GP performers' list. Under no
circumstances resign from the performers' list altogether.
You need to be on it to have an NHS GP appraisal and GMC responsible
officer. Some doctors have been told they MUST
resign. Do not resign.
your appraisals when working abroad. This is
essential. Appraisals are good for you anyway and make all
other country's CPD requirements very easy indeed. Other countries CPD
systems are more basic and can credit you points for your NHS
appraisal. You can add overseas data your appraisal folder, or
with your appraiser that they
are happy with this; most will be delighted to have something
different. The data you collect will be from your overseas
work. You might have to pay for your appraisal
yourself. In your appraisal you need to outline how you are
keeping with UK practice, and how you new knowledge will be of use on
returning to the UK. You
can find other appraisers. InternationalSOS and others have their
appraisal system that will keep you licensed but may not keep you on
the performers’ list.
back to see your family every year, do a very short locum, a few days,
perhaps you do this at your old practice (charge them very little!) and
while there you can also have your appraisal in the UK. Skype is useful
as well to do this, or split the appraisal between Skype and person to
person. Just one day's UK GP practice working and appraisal
keeps you on the performer's list. Revalidation follows on in the
normal way. Keep up with your appraisals at all
expense is MDU/MPS and both have mechanisms very low insurance costs
for this situation. You do not need to keep up the full subs.
GMC in its Advice to local
GMC Responsible Officers fits in with this line. Its
statement below emphasises the
importance that the appraisal evidence and data is relevant for UK
which is quite easily done. It asks
ROs to consider the proportion of the appraisals that is
relevant to UK practice:
GMC Guidance for Responsible
Information from overseas practice or practice that does not require a
practise in settings where they do not require a UK licence –
for instance, they may work abroad, or they may undertake
specific functions in the UK that do not legally require a
licence to practise.
is the case, it is at your (RO) discretion whether you consider
supporting information from these practice settings in making your
judgement. You should consider whether such information is material in
your evaluation of their fitness to practise, taking account of whether
it is demonstrably relevant to the doctor’s licensed UK
practice and the proportion of the doctor’s supporting
information that it represents.”
that SOME appraisal
teams in parts of England have been reading that to mean the proportion
of actual data
(360, complaints, PUNS,DENS, audits etc) has to come from the UK
and that would even exclude all overseas courses, even those with international accreditation (ALS, ALSO etc). That
is quite incorrect.
That interpretation would mean all doctors having to
months a year in the UK to get all the required data; thus excluding
regular overseas returning super-specialists and most overseas
months of UK work would be at odds with requirement only to work one
day a year
in the UK to remain on the performers' list.
Update July 2017
It seems from the feedback I have had that some regional officers and
appraising groups have been muddying the waters by applying various
other rules outside GMC requirments. GMC regional officers have no
role in maintaining the performers' list. The GMC has recognised this meddlesome trend and in
the publication Taking Revalidation Forward the GMC has the following statement in Sir Kieth Pearsons recommendations (Appendix B)
The GMC should continue its work with partners to update guidance on
the supporting information required for appraisal for revalidation to
make clear what is mandatory (and why), what is sufficient, and where
flexibility exists. They should also ensure consistency and
compatibility across different sources of guidance.
9 Responsible officers should
make sure that the revalidation process for individual doctors is not
used to achieve local objectives that are not part of the requirements
specified by the GMC.
GMC Policy Change?
The GMC need not encourage giving up a license to
practice which always means giving up a place on the performers'
list....the latter far too risky. My view is that the GMC should turn about, and further faciliate GPs gaining
abroad, and then enable doctors to come back to UK with ease, providing doctors have kept up appriasals.
me at https://bulger.co.uk/message.htm
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Gerard Bulger BSc MBBS DCH FRACGP FRCGP