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GMC wants views on changes to online medical register

Still offers essentially same info about a doctor as first hardback version in 1859

Caroline White

Thursday, 07 July 2016

The professional regulator plans to transform the online medical register (also known as the List of Registered Medical Practitioners) and wants doctors’ and the public’s feedback on how best to do this.

The GMC register is the only up-to-date, publically accessible database of the 270,000 doctors who are registered and licensed to practise in the UK. Last year alone, nearly seven million searches of its content were made by doctors, employers and patients.

But the register still offers essentially the same information about a doctor as the first hardback version in 1859, despite changes in medical practice, public expectations, and technological advances.

As well as publishing mandatory information, such as a doctor’s name, qualifications, gender and licence status, the GMC is consulting on adding information that doctors could choose voluntarily to add to the register to make it more useful for them and their patients.

Suggestions include: higher qualifications; scope of practice; declaration of competing professional interests; languages spoken; practice location; and photographs to prove identity.

Niall Dickson, GMC Chief Executive, said the register needed to reflect the radical social and technological changes that had taken place. “We need a modern register that is useful, relevant and accessible for doctors, employers and patients,” he said.

“[The register] contains limited information about doctors, such as where and when they qualified and whether they are on the GP or Specialist Register. But it does not provide a complete picture about a doctor’s practice, for example, what other qualifications they may have, where they work or if they now practise in another specialty. In many cases, years of experience and training are not reflected.

The consultation runs until 7 October 2016.

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