GMC Confirms No Major Changes to Medical Register

The General Medical Council has confirmed that it has no plans to make significant changes to the existing medical register.

It had been floated in some sources that the GMC may consider adding photographs and other personal information to this document.

But a backlash from doctors has at least delayed this action.

Yet the General Medical Council still expressed an intention to transform and update the medical register, despite backing down on this unpopular proposal.

The regulator had originally planned to include a wealth of additional information, including the scope of a doctor’s practice, a declaration of competing interest, languages spoken, practice location and photographs.

This notion first came to light in July, and at that time doctors were consulted on the proposal.

GP leaders were strongly against the idea from day one, suggesting that it could effectively lead to what was described as a “beauty parade”.

Doctors also opposed the plans when consulted on the matter.

Following the negative response, the General Medical Council is now exploring other ways of collecting information on doctors’ scope of practice that “do not impose any extra costs or burdens on doctors or compromise their privacy or safety in any way”.

Medical colleges are also investigating alternative proposals with the intention of upgrading the existing register.

Richard Marchant, an assistant director at the GMC, noted that the consultation process had been invaluable, and indeed central to the decision made.

“We have listened carefully to the views expressed by the profession in response to this – in particular their concerns about privacy and safety – and we won’t be making any significant changes at this stage.”

But Marchant also indicated that there is nonetheless an intention within the council to improve the register;

“While we work with the medical royal colleges, we want to bring the look, feel and functionality of the medical register into the 21st century so that we can make it simpler and easier for everyone to use. Compared to some other countries, our register is looking out of date.”

Meanwhile, Dr Pallavi Bradshaw, medicological adviser at Medical Protection, suggested that placing additional data on the register would be detrimental to healthcare professionals.

“Any increase in the amount of information the medical register contains about doctors, risks the accuracy and robustness of the register and would place extra burdens on our members. We believe the GMC’s ambition should be for the information held on the register to remain fully up-to-date, accurate, and dependable – so it continues to be fit for purpose.”


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