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.
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.
Where a doctor has been erased due to history (B), above, the doctor will be unlikely to be able to apply for Restoration for a minimum period of five years from the date of their erasure, depending on when their GMC case had been determined and the date the sanction came into effect. The fitness to practise legislation will apply to such cases. The 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 care, 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.
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 demonstrates 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.
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.
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. 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.
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