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Thursday, 22 January 2009

Information about Eligibility for Inclusion on the GMC Specialist Register: restoration of the Existing Specialist Route

Below are the contents of a letter from the GMC about its Specialist Register and the restoration of the Existing Specialist Route. The BMA is trying to circulate this to members as widely as possible, as I am aware that some members may not know about this or have been “caught out” previously.

Eligibility for Inclusion on the GMC Specialist Register: restoration of the Existing Specialist Route

Since 1 January 1997 it has been a legal requirement that, in order to take up -as opposed to continuing to be employed in -a consultant post (other than a locum
consultant appointment) in a medical or surgical specialty in the UK health service, a doctor must be included in the GMC's Specialist Register.

When the legislation was introduced to create the Specialist Register, those who were already consultants were entitled to apply for specialist registration by virtue of their status as 'existing specialists'. However, later legislation introduced in 2003 prevented those who had not already applied as 'existing specialists' from doing so without being able to demonstrate that their past specialist training and/or qualifications met the present standards required for the award of a Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT).

This mechanism was never intended for established senior consultants who are already in post and quickly proved to be inappropriate for specialists whose training had been undertaken so long ago. These changes in legislation have left a small number of consultants in a position where they are either unable to move posts or with a straightforward means to have their names included in the Specialist Register.

Earlier this year the Government consulted on proposals to amend the relevant legislation which would enable the restoration of the existing specialist route; Parliament has now agreed this change and the GMC has consulted on a scheme for the registration of persons who were consultants before 1 January 1997.

The scheme will come into force on 2 March. If you are aware of any consultants (other than locums) who were appointed in the National Health Service or the Armed Forces on or before 1 January 1997, who are not currently included in the Specialist Register, we would be grateful if you could draw their attention to the scheme,

Expressions of interest in taking advantage of the scheme can be made by emailing the GMC at

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