For anyone who wants to leave the UK for a short period (1-2 years), you may be wondering whether or not to come off the performers list. My advice based on personal experience? - STAY ON THE PERFORMER’S LIST!!
Sorry if that last little bit of advice seemed a bit shouty with capital letters, but after struggling to get back on the performers list, I really regretted coming off it. It cost me a lot of time, money and unnecessary head banging.
Why did I come off the Performer’s List? Because I went to Australia for 18 months so was advised to come off it and that it would be easy (haha) to get back onto it. So dutifully I gave up my Licence to Practice with the GMC which automatically took me off the Performers List.
Getting back on however meant more than 2 months being out of work in the UK, pulling my hair out before they would add me back onto their list. There were various hurdles I encountered.
The General Medical Council
Getting back on to the GMC register was relatively straightforward, however they insisted on a face to face appointment to verify my identity with my passport in order to add me back onto the Licence to Practice register (despite the fact that I was still paying to be on their regular register). “But I’m still on your register and still paying your fees!” was my argument. That didn’t matter. They had to see me in person. There was a 2 week wait for appointments in both London and Manchester. I had to cancel one appointment, which meant another two week wait for the next one.
As a GP working, or planning to work, in the UK, you need to go through a three-stage process.
Step 1 - join the GMC's GP register
- If you are applying to work as a GP (general practitioner or family physician) in the UK, as well as being licensed by the GMC, you'll also need to be on the GMC's GP Register.
- About the GMC GP register
Step 2 - join one of the four UK Performers Lists
- If you you're not already working, state your “intent to work” on your performers list application, outlining roughly how many sessions a week you plan to work from a particular date.
Step 3 - join the NHS appraisal process
- Your Area Team will assign you to a 'designated body', who'll oversee your appraisal and subsequent revalidation.
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Occupational health took 3 weeks to be approved. Thankfully I did not need to attend in person, it was simply a review of my paperwork. But still incurred a charge. Level 3 safeguarding training had to be done online – fine. The problem came because the online training does not issue certificates. Yet the performers list office demanded a certificate. Multiple phone calls to various people eventually resulted in the performers list agreeing to accept a print out of the transcript from the internet.
For the performers list itself, you need to fill in a small(!) 27 page document to reapply. And then, you have to go in in person with all your original certificates. The fact that I was on their performers list previously and had trained, worked and had appraisals as a GP with them was irrelevant. They needed all the information again, shown in person.
The main problem I had was getting my DBS check (formerly CRB). As a locum I could not easily get my DBS done as you need a nominating practice to undertake this. In the end I joined a locum agency who did it for me. They advised me that it could only be completed when I was in the UK (this I now know to be untrue). After sending off my paperwork it took 6 weeks for me to see (online) that I had passed my DBS. However the paperwork did not arrive. The DBS centre refused to reprint my certificate until two weeks had passed. The performers list office insisted on an original paper DBS certificate before processing my paperwork. More than 8 weeks after I submitted my application my certificate finally arrived and I was able to take it to my performers list office.
Once my paperwork was satisfactory for the performers list office it then got sent off to be approved by their manager. This I was told could take 2 weeks. Thankfully this was only one additional week.
So after arriving back in the UK in the first week of June, it was not until mid August that I was finally able to start working. More than 2 months later.
I was frustrated and demoralised by this process, not to mention significantly out of pocket. I had to cancel locum shifts and let surgeries down too.
So if you are advised to come off the Performer’s List and you are planning on coming back to the UK – don’t. The system to reinstate you is so flawed that it is not worth the hassle. You will however need to work a small amount each year in order to be able to undertake an appraisal (that ‘small’ amount is not defined though). For most performers lists if you are out the country for more than 2 years then you need to undergo a period of retraining or get onto a returner's scheme. I am heading back to Australia soon but my plan is to return every summer to do the minimum amount of work necessary to stay on the performers list, as eventually I will be coming back here.
A sessional GP from the UK working in Melbourne.