Erasure by oversight

Don't lose your licence to practise because the GMC or GDC don't have your correct contact details.

IT’S ARF time again – when the majority of UK doctors must pay the GMC an annual retention fee in order to remain on the medical register and maintain a licence to practise

Summer is also the time when MDDUS is keen to encourage members to ensure their ARF is fully paid in order to avoid calls over the next months from members realising to their shock that they have been removed from the register.

Imagine turning up for work one Monday with a waiting room full of patients only to discover you no longer hold a licence to practise and are not legally allowed to provide treatment. Each year MDDUS advises members in just such circumstances.

The two most common administrative causes are failing to provide regulators of a changed address and a cancelled direct debit mandate. Most often this is due to a simple oversight but the result is the same. You cannot work until being restored to the register – and this is no straight-forward process.

Doctors erased for failure to pay the ARF or maintain a reliable address must reapply to the medical register. This involves submitting an application form with supporting documentary evidence. You will also be required to visit a GMC office for an identity check and pay a restoration fee currently set at £300.

It’s not a problem restricted to doctors. Dentists missing the December 31 deadline for the GDC annual retention fee may also face the cost (£548) and inconvenience of having to re-register. Beyond the embarrassment and bother, being erased in this manner could also lead to withheld pay and potential disciplinary action.

Direct Debit is still the most reliable method of paying an annual retention fee, as payments are collected automatically thus ensuring your status on the register is not put at risk from late payment. But ensure the mandate remains current.

Practice managers might also consider setting up a system to check that new certificates have been received.

The best way to keep your address and other contact details up-to-date is through the GMC secure web portal – MyGMC. MyGMC is a special password-protected website designed to make administration easier for doctors. Dentist can register for a similar service at eGDC.

ACTION Ensure your ARF is paid on time and that the GMC or GDC have up-to-date contact details including current address to avoid inadvertent erasure.