Did you know: the General Medical Council is changing the way locums and other doctors within the UK are regulated to practise medicine, the GMC says. The first change will come on the 16th November 2009 when the GMC introduces the licence to practise scheme.
To practise medicine in the UK when licensing is introduced, all doctors will be required by law to hold both registration and a licence to practise, according to the GMC. This will apply when they practise as a locum – or full time, privately or in the NHS, whether you are employed or self-employed.
After licensing, a new system called revalidation will be introduced that will require doctors to renew their licence to practise periodically. The GMC says that the purpose of revalidation will be to give patients regular assurance that doctors registered with a licence are fully up to date and fit to practise.
All licensed doctors will need to demonstrate to the GMC that they are practising in accordance with the generic standards of practice set by the GMC. Most doctors will need to do this every five years. This is the process known as relicensing.
In order to relicense, doctors will need to collect a folder of information about their practice. This will include, for example, information about appraisal, CPD, audit, and also patient and colleague feedback.
Re-licensing will have three main elements:-
1. Participation in annual appraisal within the workplace (based on the doctor’s folder of information)
2. Participation in an independent process for obtaining feedback from patients (where applicable) and colleagues.
3. Secure confirmation from the ‘responsible officer’ (usually the Medical Director) in their local healthcare organisation that any concerns about their practice have been resolved.
Most doctors already participate in annual appraisal and obtain feedback from patients and colleagues. Re-licensing will build on what they are already doing, the GMC says. For further information visit the GMC site at www.gmc-uk.org/doctors/licensing/practice/index.asp.