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Exemptions to registration for independent doctors

  • Organisations we regulate

Published: 10 May 2021

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, health and social care services have had to work in different ways to continue delivering services safely. For example, many doctors are delivering treatment over the phone, by video link or online, in line with government and national guidelines on social distancing.

We recognise that these working practices may mean that some independent medical practitioners are no longer exempt from the need to register with CQC. This is because the requirement to provide treatment in a ‘surgery’ or ‘consulting room’ does not extend to treatment provided in any other place, or to treatment that is provided remotely – either by telephone or online through web-based consultations.

If you are an individual independent medical practitioner, or a group of independent medical practitioners, some exemptions apply to registration:

If you are already registered as a service provider for the regulated activity of Treatment of disease, disorder or injury, or are employed by a service provider that is registered for this activity, you do not have to apply to register for another regulated activity as long as you are not providing specific types of treatment listed in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014, Schedule 2 Paragraph 4 – provided that:

  • You are either on the medical performers list for a designated body, or are employed by a service provider that is a designated body, and
  • You are providing treatment from a surgery or consulting room.

Throughout the pandemic we have adapted our approach to enable us to carry on delivering our core purpose of keeping people safe. Our regulation is flexible to respond to the changes in health and social care. We want to continue to do this.

We will take a pragmatic approach that recognises the need to deliver care by telephone or online, and that aligns with government and national guidelines. Until these guidelines change, those who would be exempt before the COVID-19 pandemic will not be required to register with CQC. We will keep this position under review.

We expect providers to manage patient safety risks appropriately and decide whether it is safe to treat patients in this way. Guidance from the General Medical Council on remote consultations sets out good practice to follow. We will continue to consider any changes to risks and will take appropriate regulatory action where we have concerns about patient safety.

Last updated:
07 May 2021