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Retired doctors may wish to retain GMC registration as a requirement for under or post graduate teaching and participation in university, royal college or GMC (PLAB) examinations.
Many doctors assist at sporting and cultural events working with clubs and organisations to provide medical assistance to the attending crowds or audiences. In addition, doctors use their clinical skills to assess, triage and manage injuries and return to play issues occurring among athletes.For doctors to maintain their links with sporting organisations, GMC registration is required. Retired doctors frequently have mentored and advised their working colleagues under Royal College auspices.
The transition from full time clinical work to retirement does not involve a sudden loss of of the accumulated knowledge and skills obtained from decades of clinical practice. Retired doctors have used their experience and skills to make significant and valued contributions to medical education, Royal college activities and the sporting and cultural life of our nation over many years.
However, under current GMC guidelines, retired doctors who wish to remain on the medical register face many obstacles,administrative, educational and financial, to retain registration with the GMC. An increasing number of our retired colleagues are unable to overcome the bureaucratic hurdles erected by the GMC and are therefore forced to surrender their medical licence. The contribution this cohort of doctors makes to the educational, sporting and cultural life of our nation is now deemed worthless by the GMC.
If one retires from the NHS, a responsible officer has to be sourced privately incurring a fee of between £500 - £800. The additional compulsory 3 hour examination of clinical skills and knowledge is required at a cost of £100. This examination takes place in Manchester, thereby incurring further hotel and transport costs. These are hurdles deliberately placed by the GMC to actively discourage doctors remaining on the medical after retirement. These actions deliberately discriminate against this group of professions with justifiable cause.
It is insulting to our profession that the GMC regards retirement from clinical practice as a complete loss of accumulated medical knowledge and therefore a barrier to participation in the aforementioned activities. It is personally insulting to those loyal doctors who have paid many thousands of pounds to the GMC over their years of practice to be treated in such a dismissive and disparaging manner.
For many in this position, it is associated with a loss of esteem and self worth and many feel very angry that their many years of service have been reqarded in this fashion.
It cannot be beyond the wit of this gargantuan and wealthy organisation to introduce a simplified, accessible and suitable medical licensing procedure to cover this group of our colleagues and retain their valued contribution they make to society.
I also believe that the BMA has been negligent in the protection of the interests of its retired members and urge our organisation to address and rectify this problem.
Dr Christopher Greenhalgh
Glasgow Royal Infirmary.