GPs to receive specialist status under plans to reform medical registration

GPs are set to be included on the specialist register under sweeping government plans to reform professional regulation.

GPs will be included on specialist register under reforms (Photo: Luis Alvarez/Getty Images)

A consultation document published on 24 March revealed that the government is proposing to replace the specialist and GP registers with a single register.

Specialist status, including being a GP, will be reflected through ‘an annotation to the register’, according to the document.

The proposal is part of a number of recommendations that also include speeding up fitness to practise decisions and stripping the GMC of its power of appeal.

Read more
>
Government sets out plan to speed up fitness to practise cases and halt GMC appeals

The GMC has told GPonline that the proposals, if approved, could be passed in legislation by Spring 2022 - but that it will hold its own consultation before these reforms are introduced. 

Plans to merge the specialist and GP registers follows several years of campaigning from the BMA and RCGP. Both organisations have argued that the move would give GPs equal status to consultants, would make clinicians’ expertise clearer and simplify the register.

Specialist register

At present, GPs are not recognised as specialists in the UK once they have qualified, despite the fact that they are required to complete a minimum of three years specialty training, and despite most European countries recognising general practice as a specialist medical role.

The BMA and RCGP have said that giving GPs specialist status could help encourage junior doctors and medical students to consider a career in general practice.

As part of the change the government is also proposing to remove the GMC’s duty to award the Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) from the Medical Act.

The consultation document said: ‘We propose that the GMC should instead have a power to make rules setting out the procedure to be followed in relation to, and evidence required in support of, CCTs.

Regulation reform

'The GMC will then be able to assure that the processes by which doctors have specialist or GP qualifications annotated on the register are best suited to serve the needs of service users, the public, the healthcare environment and the regulated professions.'

Under the plans the GMC would still be able to award CCTs, but it could also decide to change its processes so that the certificates were no longer required before a qualification was annotated on register.

The document said the change would ‘not entail immediate change’, but would ensure that the GMC ‘has the flexibility to regulate education and training efficiently and effectively'.

The consultation will run for 12 weeks and closes on 16 June.

GPs can respond to the consultation here.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

Kamila Hawthorne

GP crisis could force one in four practices to close, says RCGP

Unmanageable pressure could force more than a quarter of GP practices to close, polling...

COVID-19 vaccine in pregnancy

Vaccination in pregnancy cuts COVID-19 risk for mother and baby

Vaccination against COVID-19 during pregnancy reduces the risk of infection and hospitalisation...

Child using smartphone

NICE backs digital CBT games for children with anxiety or low mood

GPs could prescribe CBT-based digital games, videos and quizzes for children and...

GP surgery sign

GP pressure to continue as experts warn NHS backlog will remain through 2023

General practice faces continuing heavy pressure after experts warned that the record...

Close-up of a man loading a shotgun

BMA updates GP firearms guidance as digital marker goes live on EMIS

The BMA has updated its guidance for GPs on firearms licensing following the release...

Map pins

Severely underdoctored areas spread across nearly every NHS region

Severely underdoctored areas exist in nearly every NHS region across England, figures...