Doctors’ licence to practise requirement will affect businesses

The General Medical Council (GMC) is warning employers to be aware of a major change to medical regulations that is expected next year.

It claims that organisations ranging from police forces to airlines could be affected by the new law – expected in late 2009 – which will require any doctor wishing to practise medicine in the UK to hold a licence with the GMC.

At present, doctors are required to be registered with the GMC to practise medicine – but in the future they will need the license to practise as well.

GMC president Graeme Catto said: “Doctors are employed or contracted in a number of different capacities across the UK, and the introduction of the licence to practise has the potential to affect a large number of companies and organisations.

“We want to make sure employers realise the extent to which these regulations could affect the running of their organisations, and dispel the notion held by some people that this is an issue that will only affect hospitals and GP surgeries.”

The new regulations will require doctors to hold a licence to practise if:

They hold a position as a doctor in the NHS or independent health sector, on a permanent or locum basis

They write prescriptions, sign death certificates, or exercise any of the other legal privileges currently reserved for registered medical practitioners

Their employer or those who contract their services or another party requires them to hold a licence to practise.

The GMC’s purpose is to protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the public by ensuring proper standards in the practice of medicine.

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