GMC director of revalidation Una Lane said the 18,000 doctors who had failed to contact the GMC ahead of revalidation starting this month, could lose their licence to practise. However she said that none of the 18,000 doctors worked for the NHS.
A significant number, around 45%, have an overseas registered address and around 15% are over 65 years old, she added.
Ms Lane said the GMC had made every possible effort to contact the doctors in question and they would be reminded again to contact the GMC when they received their revalidation date early next year.
She said: ‘All of those doctors will be given a revalidation date. When we write to them in early January we will be letting them know that they are putting their licence at risk by failing to engage with us.’
‘The bottom line is if they continue to fail to engage with us we will take steps to remove their licence.’
GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said that some doctors may have failed to get in touch with the GMC because they no longer wish to hold a licence to practise. ‘There may be doctors who are not responding because they want to give up their licence and this is the point they are going to do it,’ he said.