Failure to renew registration could disrupt patient care

PRESS RELEASE

For immediate release: Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Healthcare professionals are reminded to ensure that they and their staff pay annual registration fees on time or risk being temporarily banned from practising, says UK-wide medical defence organisation MDDUS.

Any members of the practice healthcare team who are not registered with their regulatory body will be unable to carry out any duties associated with their role.

Each year, MDDUS receives calls from concerned practices with staff unable to see patients after missing a registration deadline and medical adviser Dr Mary Peddie is urging all healthcare professionals to ensure staff are registered or patient care may be compromised.

“The last thing any healthcare professional needs on a hectic day at work is the shock discovery that their regulatory body’s registration has lapsed and they must immediately stop seeing patients or doing any clinical work,” says Dr Peddie.

“Summer is a busy time for subscription renewals to organisations such as the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council. Without these subscriptions in place, healthcare professionals are not legally allowed to practise.

“This means not only avoiding patient consultation, but also tasks such as checking test results and signing prescriptions.

“Healthcare professionals who discover their subscriptions have lapsed must stop all clinical work immediately and seek advice from their medical defence organisation. Often a simple change in personal information, such as home address or direct debit details, is to blame.”

One recent call to the MDDUS advice line came from a manager who discovered her practice nurse had unwittingly let his NMC registration lapse, leaving him temporarily unable to carry out nursing duties.

“The error had occurred after the nurse moved house and also changed banks,” says Dr Peddie. “He was unaware there had been a problem with his most recent NMC annual fee payment, meaning he was not on the regulator’s register.

“He faced being unable to treat patients, or indeed undertake any nursing duties, until the NMC had processed his application to re-register.

“Applying to be reinstated onto the register can be a time-consuming, stressful process with the potential for loss of earnings and even disciplinary action. And there is often a fee to pay to have your name restored.

“We have had similar calls from doctors who have accidentally allowed their GMC registration to lapse. Reinstating GMC registration can be time-consuming, meanwhile no clinical work can be undertaken, which can be very disruptive to internal practice arrangements.

“Problems can also occur if a practitioner’s subscription to their medical defence organisation is not renewed, meaning no indemnity is in place if a claim is subsequently received for the period of the lapsed subscription.”

Practices are advised to have a system in place to check that staff subscriptions with bodies such as the GMC, NMC and defence organisations are renewed on time. The GMC website provides a secure web portal where registrants can manage their registration, pay fees and update personal information.

Ends

For further information contact Richard Hendry on 0845 270 2034 or 07976 272266, or email rihendry@mddus.com.

Note to editors

MDDUS (The Medical and Dental Defence Union of Scotland) is a medical and dental defence organisation providing access to professional indemnity and expert medico- and dento-legal advice for doctors, dentists and other healthcare professionals throughout the UK. For further information on MDDUS go to www.mddus.com.

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