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There will be no roll of drums, stripping of epaulettes or broken swords, but the result will be the same, for I am to be cashiered out of the profession by order of the GMC.
Those fellowships from Dublin, Edinburgh and London, along with my licence to practise will be stripped off me, thrown in a bucket and flushed down the nearest drain. In other words, as a discreet email has informed me, I am about to be struck off the medical register.
I have tried to blame the late Dr Shipman for my humiliation, for although revalidation was first dreamt up in the 1990s it was his actions that lent its introduction a greater urgency. But I won’t. I alone must take responsibility and accept my humiliation with as much good grace that I can muster.
It is not as if I didn’t get adequate warning, and even though I did make some half-hearted effort at arranging my appraisal my attempts were too little and now too late.
I am unable to decide if it is sour grapes but I cannot rid myself of the feeling that the whole appraisal business is just that, a business, for in my poorly pursued efforts I was struck by one or two occasions where there seemed to be a suggestion that payment would help things along. Firms offering help with appraisal can charge more than £500, and it seems all too easy to ask favourite patients and colleagues for their feedback rather than take a more representative sample.
In my sadness at my impending erasure I have even sunk so low as try to engender a feeling of schadenfreude, for I realise that in many cases morale in the profession as a whole, but especially amongst junior doctors and nurses, is at an all-time low.
But that doesn’t last, and actually I feel something more akin to shame when I think how much more straightforward things were half a century ago when I started out on a medical career. Competition, career structure and specialisation are now all immeasurably more complicated – unless I have suddenly taken to wearing rose-tinted spectacles without realising.
Perhaps the most alarming statistic that I have recently heard is the high percentage of young doctors who now have regrets about entering the profession and would not recommend it to friends or family.
If I am being selfish, I will say that old people like us need good, happy, fulfilled doctors to keep us ticking over and to ease our exit.
So I can only hope that as my name is rubbed out, a fresh new name will take my place and that he or she will have as happy a career as I experienced, in what I still believe is the most satisfying job in the world.
Peter Docherty is a retired consultant ophthalmologist from Derby
Doctors wishing to give up their licence to practise are able to retain GMC registration by paying the annual retention fee of £150. Will you pay to stay registered once you retire? Use the comments section below
I think once you retire, you should get an honorary liscence. Erasure of a career you have pursued and worked hard in for so long just doesn't seem fair. At least with an honorary liscence you can still teach and pass on much needed experience down to those starting their career.
I couldn't agree with you more.What GMC has done to good doctors is inexcusable.My simple advice to those who wants to go into medicine is think hard and fast twice before entering into this most unsatisfied and underpaid and constant stressfull profession.If you must do then do not try practice in UK,instead try to pass USMLE and go to USA.My classmates from Medical school who practice in USA and Canada are three times happier than me
Pracctice medicine in UK is hopeless and GMC has done everything to make it hard and has done no favours to retain doctors
Revalidation and appraisal is a big Farce...and waste of time..
What a shame
I agree it's the most satisfying career in the world and I am lucky to train in the same speciality (ophthalmology).
What I am not sure about is staying in UK once I get the CCT- any place respecting doctors more , having better weather and allowing me to have a family life will do!
Yes I do pay.I am still doing some medico legal work and you need to be registered .It is a lot of work to do and arranging Appraisals every year is not easy if you are not attached to a 'Body'!
Why should you keep your licence to treat patients if you are unable or unwilling to demonstrate that you are remaining up to date, reflecting on the care you give, taking note of what your patients and colleagues think of you and gathering data on your outcomes. The Gmc does not owe us our right to treat patients , it has the responsibility to ensure at least minimal standards of engagement with quality
I am making preparations for that time when revalidation becomes too much of a P in the A. I am registering with the Spanish medical authorities. The plan is to open a small, private GP surgery on the Costa del Sol and see a few English expat patients each day. Certainly not a full or heavy work load and probably just enough income to pay for life's little extras. But think of it.... A practice where I choose when to work and when to rest. A practice where I choose not to keep that abusive drunk on the list. A practice with no QOF's no CQC no NICE and no NHS Trust second guessing me. And lots of sunshine, sand and sangria. You know, it sounds so good, I wonder if I should wait any longer.
I feel very strongly about this. I whistle blew ( not many of my colleagues had the guts to stand up and say how dangerous our staffing levels were). And my glittering career - disintegrated in months. A deferred revalidation, impossibility of appraisals because my management team were unable to find enough appraisers ( is there a theme here), negatives upon negatives. For other reasons in addition to this I actually contacted the GMC and asked them to remove my name from the list - " can I hand back my stethoscope " I asked-( I have no faith in our profession- I see lies manipulation and complete disregard for patient safety when the rubber meets the road). I hate my profession and cannot wait for my retirement. No loss mate - have a good time outside of the current nightmarish mess.
I think the USA allows a category of "Retired - able to prescribe for self and family". I don't know whether this exists in all States. I plan to relinquish both licence and registration as soon as I retire.
I completely empathise with my colleagues position.
How easy it has become to remove good hard working doctors from the medical list.
The authorities have been informed by me as to how Shipman operated, to deafening silence. Yet they use him as the reason for disintegrating the profession, whilst allowing the flaws in the system to propagate.
Appraisal and accreditation is a total farce, a money making farce. Together with a time wasting exercise for practitioners.
I would always teach up and coming medics that the function of a Royal college which can be extended to the GMC and BMA is to make money!!!
They would otherwise be working out of a small office in the middle of nowhere.
Internet and postal connections are pretty well countrywide are they not?
As a retired GP and part-time occupational health physician I took 'voluntary erasure' a few years ago. Unable to face the paper trail of appraisal it felt almost like assisted suicide!
At least I can now give 'medical' advice to my family without the fear of being struck off!
The GMC are no better than a call centre.Theres no shame in them striking you off.
A year after retiring I wrote to them informing them of my intention to seek voluntary erasure. Some weeks later I received a letter informing me of their intention to "strike me off" for failing to pay my renewal fee. When I Enquired why they had not responded to my letter they said they had in their usual fashion of email. An email which arrived when I was on holiday and erased,unopened, on my return.They then charged me a late payment fee and required a thirteen page form for me to remove my name!
Whistleblowers have been victimised and marginalised since I joined the NHS in the late 70s why should it change? We still have administrators being paid twice and three times the salary of their medically trained underlings to keep the boot on their throats in case they spell out what is going on.
If our union had any balls they would sort this and other aspects wrt Shipman instead of letting the medical and political posturing over inadequate appraisal and accreditation.
Hint you may like to start with doctors being able to speak proper English.
Patients should have to pay for translators if they cannot properly communicate.
Charge anyone who has not contributed to the service as they do in Europe.
There is no real health provision for those working in the NHS.
Most organisations of any size provide a healthcare package, why not the main provider?
I have personally had to take out a private insurance despite working in the service.
The BMA has failed every health professional in this regard.
Suggestion: remove your finger and get it sorted.
Having read some of the comments regarding GMC , colleges and the BMA.
I would not waste any of my glomerullar filtrate if any of these organisations were on fire.