The GMC's List of Registered Medical Practitioners, also known as the LRMP or simply the medical register, contains the details of 270,000 doctors. By allowing patients and colleagues to view up-to-date information such as a doctor's status on the medical register, registration date, whether they hold a licence and any publicly available fitness to practise history, it's designed to ensure that all registered doctors uphold the standards expected of them by the public and the medical profession.
However, in some respects the type of information included in the LRMP hasn't changed much since its first incarnation – in hardback – from 1859. The GMC is now consulting on how to improve the register and is asking for opinions on a range of questions, including what additional information doctors should be able to include about themselves, what the overall purpose of the register should be, how the data can be validated and how to balance transparency and doctors' privacy. By gathering as many responses as possible, the GMC hopes to answer these questions and get a more thorough understanding of what appetite there is for change.
A complete picture
GMC Chief Executive Niall Dickson commented in a press release that despite holding useful information, the current register 'does not provide a complete picture about a doctor's practice, for example, what other qualifications they may have, where they work or if they now practise in another specialty. In many cases, years of experience and training are not reflected.
'We very much hope this will be an opportunity for doctors to take joint ownership of their entry on the register to provide a fuller picture of their practice.'
The consultation closes on 7 October 2016, and you can have your say online, by email or by post.
Full details are available on the GMC's website.