Retired Doctors

Retired doctors no longer practising medicine

A doctor, who is no longer practising medicine and does not plan to do so in the future, may find it challenging to meet the minimum requirements for professional competence. Any retired doctor or semi-retired doctor wishing to retain registration for the purpose of practising medicine is obliged to fulfil their statutory duty to maintain professional competence.

If a doctor finds the requirements too challenging, or does not wish to maintain their professional competence, the option to voluntary withdraw from the register should be considered. This means that they would no longer be required to maintain professional competence and engage in CPD activities. Withdrawing from the register carries no implication in relation to a doctor’s conduct or performance and a doctor can continue to use the title of 'Doctor' and to provide first aid in an emergency situation. Should circumstances change, and a doctor wishes to return to practice, they can at any time restore their name back onto the register. If a doctor wants to remain registered, then they are required to maintain professional competence like every other doctor that is registered.

Professional competence requirements are designed to be flexible so that all doctors can easily meet the requirements.  Postgraduate medical training bodies provide advice and guidance to doctors on how to meet the requirements based on their specific practice arrangements.

Semi- Retired/ practising on an occasional basis

Some doctors may be retired from the practice of medicine but still occasionally see patients or are engaged in other activities that require a doctor to remain registered. Such activities would include undertaking occasional locum work, research related activity or medico-legal work. Doctors in this scenario would be subject to the same maintenance of professional competence requirements as all other registered practitioners, i.e. enrolled in a professional competence scheme and recording a minimum of 50 continuous professional development (CPD) credits and 1 clinical audit each year. 

Prescribing for family and self

The Medical Council recommends that, except for minor illness and emergencies, it is not advisable for doctors to treat members of their family or issue prescriptions, sick certificates or reports for them. As a general rule, you should avoid treating yourself or your family. For further information please refer to our guide to professional conduct and ethics for registered medical practitioners.

Additional Information