A doctor’s registration with the GMC might be erased for a number of reasons. In this article, I will look at how a doctor can apply to restore their GMC registration.
Doctors who practise medicine in the UK need to hold a licence to practise along with the suitable type of registration for the work that they do. It is the licence to practise which allows doctors to carry out certain activities such as prescribing medicines and treating patients.
Doctors who hold registration without a licence cannot practise medicine in the UK.
Doctors can be removed from the register for a number of reasons:
This could happen when a doctor failed to pay the annual registration fee or provide an up-to-date residential address. Restoration to the GMC register under these circumstances is normally straightforward. Under exceptional circumstances, restoration due to administrative erasure could result in a formal investigation where, for example, the error was caused by an allegation of deception or another form of misconduct.
A doctor can apply for voluntary erasure at anytime during their registration including at anytime during a fitness to practise investigation. The GMC has an adopted process for considering applications for voluntary erasure during a fitness to practise investigation.
Doctors who have had an application for voluntary erasure approved, can apply to re-join the register. The process is set out in The General Medical Council (Voluntary Erasure and Restoration following Voluntary Erasure) Regulations Order of Council 2004.
Restoration decisions are referred to GMC case examiners (one lay and one medical) and the accompanying GMC guidance states that granting restoration:
“will be appropriate if the case examiners are satisfied, based on reliable evidence, that the doctor is fit to practise without restriction. Restoration should normally be granted if the concerns are not serious enough to raise an issue of impaired fitness to practise or are not capable of proof to the civil standard.”
The alternative to granting the application is refusal or a referral to the MPTS.
Doctors considering applying for restoration following a voluntary erasure should seek legal advice to discuss the individual circumstances that lead to the voluntary erasure and the best way to approach the restoration application
In circumstances where a doctor’s registration has been erased by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) due to impaired fitness to practise (or “disciplinary erasure”), an application for registration is much more complicated.
Generally speaking, the GMC will not consider restoration applications until at least 5 years have elapsed from the date of the disciplinary erasure and applications for restoration following a disciplinary erasure will be referred to the MPTS.
The GMC stipulates that the MPTS will consider a “number of factors”, including:
Regarding the “circumstances that led to erasure” and the “reasons given”, these are matters of fact. Doctors cannot ask, or argue, before the MPTS that the facts proved against them that led to their erasure should be reconsidered.
Please refer to our article “Fitness to Practise – Reflection, Insight & Remediation for Doctors” for further guidance on demonstrating insight and remediation.
The issue of evidence of maintaining “medical knowledge and skills” needs careful planning and consideration. The evidence of maintaining “medical knowledge and skills” will largely depend on the circumstances of each case. It is highly advisable that doctors seek expert legal advice on the most appropriate course of action when considering a restoration application. A number of things could be considered:
Ultimately the burden of proof rests on the doctor making the restoration application to convince the MPTS that they are fitness to practise. If you are considering an application for restoration, contact Kings View Chambers at the earliest opportunity for GMC fitness to practise advice, guidance and representation.