13 March 2023

Guide to self-referral for healthcare registrants

Written by Joanne Harrison

Having to consider the question of self-referral to your regulatory body is a daunting prospect for any healthcare practitioner. The below table sets out the provisions of the relevant guidance/codes used by a number of healthcare regulators.





General Medical Council

Good Medical Practice

See also: Reporting criminal and regulatory proceedings

75 You must tell us without delay if, anywhere in the world:

a you have accepted a caution from the police or been criticised by an official inquiry

b you have been charged with or found guilty of a criminal offence

c another professional body has made a finding against your registration as a result of fitness to practise procedures.

‘Without delay’

Medical Council (Ireland)

Guide to Professional Conduct and Ethics for Registered Medical Practitioners (Amended) 8th Edition 2019

54.3 You are required by law to notify the Council of anything that might affect your continuing registration. This includes:

  • criminal convictions in or outside the State;
  • decisions by regulatory bodies in or outside the State not to grant you registration or a licence; or
  • decisions by regulatory bodies in or outside the State to remove or restrict your registration.

You must notify the Council within 30 days of learning of your conviction or other relevant finding. The police or courts may also notify the Council about convictions. You must be honest about convictions or other matters that may affect your registration when making your annual declaration to the Medical Council.

‘Within 30 days of learning of your conviction or other relevant finding’

General Dental Council

Standards for the Dental Team

See also:

General Dental Council Guidance on Reporting Criminal Proceedings

Standard 9.3

You must inform the GDC if you are subject to criminal proceedings or a regulatory finding is made against you, anywhere in the world.

9.3.1 You must inform the GDC immediately if you are subject to any criminal proceedings anywhere in the world. See our guidance on reporting criminal proceedings for more information.

9.3.2 You must inform the GDC immediately if you are subject to the fitness to practise procedures of another healthcare regulator, either in the United Kingdom or abroad.

9.3.3 You must inform the GDC immediately if a finding has been made against your registration by another healthcare regulator, either in the United Kingdom or abroad.

9.3.4 You must inform the GDC immediately if you are placed on a barred list held by either the Disclosure and Barring Service or Disclosure Scotland.


Nursing and Midwifery Council

The Code

See also: Criminal convictions and reporting

23 Cooperate with all investigations and audits

This includes investigations or audits either against you or relating to others, whether individuals or organisations. It also includes cooperating with requests to act as a witness in any hearing that forms part of an investigation, even after you have left the register. To achieve this, you must:

23.1 cooperate with any audits of training records, registration records or other relevant audits that we may want to carry out to make sure you are still fit to practise.

23.2 tell both us and any employers as soon as you can about any caution or charge against you, or if you have received a conditional discharge in relation to, or have been found guilty of, a criminal offence (other than a protected caution or conviction).

23.3 tell any employers you work for if you have had your practice restricted or had any other conditions imposed on you by us or any other relevant body.

23.4 tell us and your employers at the first reasonable opportunity if you are or have been disciplined by any regulatory or licensing organisation, including those who operate outside of the professional health and care environment.

Re a caution, charge or conviction (other than a protected caution or conviction)

23.2 - ‘as soon as you can’

If disciplined by any regulatory or licensing organisation

23.4 - ‘at the first reasonable opportunity’

Tips when considering self-referral

When considering whether or not, to self-refer to a regulator, registrants should take into account the following:-

  • The precise terms of the applicable guidance/code as to when self-referral is required; and
  • Any specified timescale in which the registrant is required to self-refer.

It is important to note that a failure to follow the relevant guidance/Code in respect of self-referral may give rise to regulatory proceedings and, in some cases, can result in allegations that there has been a dishonest failure to self-refer. If there is any doubt as to whether self-referral is required, it is recommended that a registrant seeks advice from their defence organisation and/or a legal professional.

If you would like any further information or advice, please contact Joanne Harrison from the Healthcare team.

*This information is for guidance purposes only and does not constitute, nor should be regarded, as a substitute for taking legal advice that is tailored to your circumstances.

About the author

Joanne Harrison

Senior Associate

Joanne Harrison is a Senior Associate in the Healthcare team at Carson McDowell. Joanne specialises in regulatory and professional discipline matters, with a particular focus on healthcare cases.

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