A total of 12,000 doctors with a UK address who are GMC registered, but who do not currently hold a licence to practise, will be given temporary registration as the government continues to take emergency measures to bolster the NHS workforce.
A further 6,800 doctors with a UK address who gave up their registration between three and six years ago (2014-2017) will also be invited to rejoin the register.
The extension, agreed with the chief medical officers of the four UK nations, follows the registration last week and over last weekend of around 15,500 doctors who had given up their registration or licence to practise within the last three years.
Only doctors with no outstanding fitness to practise investigations or sanctions are being given temporary registration - and they can opt out at any point.
The GMC also confirmed that it will start the provisional registration of final year medical students next week, three months earlier than usual. It is hoped the move could potentially add 7,500 newly qualified doctors to the UK’s healthcare workforce.
Students will still need to apply to the GMC for their provisional registration, which will only be granted once their medical school has confirmed their graduation. Students will not be charged any fees for registering.
Director of registration and revalidation at the GMC Una Lane, said: ‘Following discussions with the UK’s chief medical officers and the DHSC, we have started the process to temporarily register additional groups of doctors who had given up their registration or licence to practise in recent years.
‘We know from the response to the first group temporarily registered last week that many will be keen to help, but we also understand that many will have questions and concerns. Temporary registration allows doctors to work in the NHS, but it would be up to each individual whether or not they would wish to do so and in what capacity.’
The GMC has published a web guide to explain more about the temporary registration process. It also provides information from the four UK governments and health services, to help doctors access the information they need about the practicalities of returning to work.
Last week the GMC confirmed that 11,800 doctors had returned to work after the government enacted emergency powers, which included around 3,800 GPs.
Wessex LMCs chief executive and New Forest GP Dr Nigel Watson was the first GP to receive his temporary registration. He said: ‘We are now facing a national emergency with the rapidly escalating situation caused by COVID-19. I and many other recently retired GPs are willing and ready to return to work to help out local practices.’