Off the register

A lapsed professional registration is not worth the trouble to you or your staff.

A lapsed professional registration is not worth the trouble to you or your staff

MDDUS has seen an increase in calls from members who have mistakenly allowed their professional registration to lapse – and from others having to deal with the lapsed registration of staff members, particularly practice nurses. An individual in such circumstances may turn up for work unable to perform any of the tasks or duties for which registration is necessary.

It is a recurring problem which affects a significant number of practitioners and practices.

Moving house is a common factor in these cases. Members may neglect to provide a change of address when updating professional details for registration. Professional bodies send out reminders but if they go to the wrong address they have no effect. Use of electronic communication is not fool proof either – if an email address is changed and your regulator is not informed the same problem can occur. Many fees are now paid automatically and members may not routinely check that each one is up to date with current banking details.

A period of illness occurring when registration is due can also lead to registration fees being overlooked. A member who has been on sick leave may return to work having forgotten to check their registration status. Learning of this oversight may then compound their illness, especially if it is stress related. Being unusually busy – either at work or home – may also lead to a failure to keep on top of registration fees.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council now has a process where lapsed registration results in removal from the register. A nurse must then go through a process of readmission which can take up to six weeks. The disruption this can cause speaks for itself.

Doctors who have overlooked paying their fees can go through an administrative process to re-register but this also takes time. However, in some cases the General Medical Council may call the doctor to a hearing if the lapse has been long or inadequately explained.

The General Dental Council requires the completion of a form to enable registration to be restored. This asks if you have been working as a dentist in the UK during the time you were not registered. If the answer is "yes", you are advised to contact your solicitor or defence organisation before submitting the form.

In any of the above circumstances MDDUS can offer guidance.

Practices are advised to have a system in place to ensure staff subscriptions with professional regulators and defence organisations such as MDDUS are kept up-to-date. The GMC, GDC and the NMC websites all provide secure web portals where registrants can manage their registrations, pay fees, set up direct debits and update personal information.

ACTION POINTS

  • Check your current registration status and those of any employees now.
  • Update your regulator with any change of address, contact or banking details.
  • Practices should have a robust system in place for keeping track of the registration status of all professional employees.