Unlicensed - restrictions

Jonn Wood made this Freedom of Information request to General Medical Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

Dear General Medical Council,

On your website you give a few examples of what an unlicensed doctor is not allowed to do, As the examples are a bit limited, please could you answer the following with regards to your guidance and procedures, ….

a) Is a registered (but unlicensed) doctor allowed to carry out a medical examination on behalf of a private company, or indeed on behalf of a government department?

b) Is a registered (but unlicensed) doctor allowed to provide medical advice, opinions and reports to the private company or government department which may be used to make a quasi- judicial decision?

Yours faithfully,

Jonn Wood

FOI, General Medical Council

Dear Mr Wood

Your information request F12/5130/SL

Thank you for your email of 26 December 2012 asking for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

We will consider your request and give you the information as soon as we can, normally within the 20 working day limit set by the FOIA.

Please note that there may be some information which we cannot release to you under the FOIA. If this is the case, we will let you know why and state the relevant exemptions given in the FOIA. We will also give you information about how to appeal our decision.

I have allocated your request to Sarah Leigh. If you have any questions, please contact her on 0161 923 6398 or email [email address].

Kind regards

Gayle Impey

Dr Gayle Impey
Information Access Team Administrator
General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street, Manchester M3 3AW
[email address]
0161 923 6286

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Pieter left an annotation ()

Dear John Wood,
I suggest that you include in your request:
What medical work can a qualified doctor, who is not registered with the GMC, legally do / not do in the UK?
You can expect the GMC not to answer this or answer this in an ambiguous way, as they are terrified that the public may find out that doctors only need registration with the CQC and not the GMC to practice in the UK.
Pieter Jooste

Dr David Waghorn left an annotation ()

From Lord Hunt of Fawley - The Medical Act 1978: Passage through Parliament

"When I had been sent to Russia by the editor of the Sunday Times, 18 years ago, to study general practice in that country and to write three articles for that paper's magazine section, I asked the GMC whether I should put my name and degrees and diplomas at the top of these articles, or whether I should even say that I was a doctor, for fear of being accused of advertising.

The answer I received was that because of their judicial position in relation to professional conduct the GMC could not help me as it was not their custom to
give advice of that sort. If anyone complained afterwards, however, I could be charged with professional misconduct."


Sarah Leigh (0161 923 6398), General Medical Council

Our ref: F12/5130/SL

Dear Mr Wood

Thank you for your email of 26 December 2012. Your request has been considered under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

Doctors must hold a licence to practise in order to undertake any form of medical practice for which the UK law currently requires you to hold GMC registration. Doctors without a licence would therefore not be permitted to treat patients, write prescriptions or sign death certificates.

There are some activities for which there is no legal requirement to be licensed but there may, nevertheless, be a contractual requirement by organisations who employ doctors for certain services. It would therefore be possible for a doctor to, for example, produce medico-legal reports without holding a licence but the organisation employing them may require this to ensure that the doctor is in good standing with the GMC.

As an example, Atos Healthcare carries out disability assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions in relation to benefit claims. Atos Healthcare state that all doctors who conduct the assessments must hold a current registration and licence to practise with the GMC. This is stated on their website: http://www.atoshealthcare.com/claimants/...

It is not for the GMC to specify whether a particular organisation should ensure a doctor holds a licence, if the activity the doctor would undertake does not involve medical practice. If there is a particular organisation's requirements you are interested in, I would advise you to contact that organisation directly.

The GMC provides doctors with specific guidance around licensing and this can be found on our website at the below link:

I hope you find this information useful. If you have any queries regarding the way I have handled your request, please contact Julian Graves, Information Access Manager, at [email address].

Yours sincerely

Sarah Leigh
Information Access Officer
[email address]
0161 923 6398

General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street
M3 3AW

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