Restoration to the GMC Register
The GMC Restoration procedure is available to doctors where they have:
(A) accidentally failed to pay the annual registration fee or provide an up to date residential address, leading to a lapse of registration (called ‘administrative erasure’); or,
(B) been erased from the register due to professional misconduct, deficient performance, or ill-health, by way of the fitness to practise process; or,
(C) following Voluntary Erasure.
Administrative Erasure and Restoration
Where a doctor’s registration has lapsed due to history (A), above, the doctor may apply for Restoration in accordance with the Restoration Following Administrative Erasure Regulations 2004 recent amendments). The procedure is usually straightforward but can occasionally throw up problems because of the way a doctor has acted. Where there are doubts about a doctor’s probity or the accuracy of the reasons they have given for the lapse of registration, the GMC might choose to hold a detailed investigation. For that reason, doctors should be diligent about the way they complete their application forms and ensure they do so with probity.
Voluntary Erasure and Restoration
Where a doctor wishes to (C) apply for restoration following a Voluntary Erasure (VE), there is a specific Procedure to be followed: Restoration following Voluntary Erasure.
Substantive Issue Erasure (Strike Off) and Restoration
Where a doctor has been erased due to history (B), above, the doctor will be unable to apply for Restoration for a minimum period of five years from the date of the erasure order came into effect. The fitness to practise restoration legislation will apply to such cases.
The restoration application process is not a simple one and strong evidence of current fitness, remediation, updating and insight will be needed. Very few doctors are restored to the register and so any application needs to be made with great care and consideration, to get it right from the outset.
There will be a restoration hearing where the doctor must persuade the GMC that they are fit to practise again, despite the history of their case. The doctor should attend and give evidence.
A doctor will be assisted if they can go on a clinical attachment but these are not always possible to arrange and there may be fees involved in doing so. Also, the doctor will need to provide evidence of having maintained their competence. It might assist for a doctor to do PLAB training, even if they are unable to formally take PLABS, as it will show a commitment to demonstrate knowledge and skills. It would also assist the tribunal considering the case to see a personal development plan, setting out how the doctor is going to update their knowledge and skills moving forward. It is important for a doctor to reflect, too, on the reasons that they were erased. Showing insight and taking appropriate remediation is essential to achieving success.
A restoration will only be successful if the doctor can demonstrate that they are fit to practise. The onus is on them. Doctors often fail to appreciate that the responsibility is theirs, to show that they have overcome their past conduct and poor decision-making that lead to their erasure. An apology letter to others that they have let down might also assist their case, if they have acted unprofessionally, dishonestly, or harmed patients or others.
Restoration following erasure due to a period of ill-health will require a more specialised approach.
We often assist doctors to identify the aspects of behaviour that require detailed reflection and remediation. We can recommend courses and tutors to assist in some aspects of remediation.
See also the following case law on restoration:-
We maintain an archive of restoration cases, accessible to our clients: Restoration Decisions
Doctors Defence Service can advise and represent doctors in relation to Restoration to the GMC Register. Our specialist lawyers can advise, in particular, on the GMC Restorations and Licensing Policy and on the steps a doctor might take in order to maximise their prospects of success of being restored to the register.
For information about how to apply for Restoration to the GMC Register, see the GMC’s Guidance on Restoration
An essential document to read is the tribunal’s guidance on whether to grant restoration or not: Guidance for doctors on restoration following disciplinary erasure
See also the guidance for tribunals: Guidance for medical practitioners tribunals on restoration following disciplinary erasure
See also the 2004 Rules relating to restoration: General Medical Council (Fitness to Practise) Rules Order of Council 2004
‘Appeals’ from Restoration Decisions (Refusals)
A doctor who is dissatisfied with a tribunal’s decision to decline restoration can bring proceedings by way of judicial review. There are strict time limits. A judicial review is narrower in scope than an appeal. There is no statutory right for a doctor to appeal.
GMC Power to Appeal a Restroration Decision
The GMC has a statutory power to lodge an appeal where a tribunal has granted a doctor restoration to the register, and the GMC is dissatisfied with the decision. See our Appeals page.
Doctors Defence Service – Legal Advice and Representation in Restoration Hearings, Appeals and Judicial Reviews
To discuss a potential Restoration Application or related matter, Doctors Defence Service legal team be contacted on 0800 10 88 739