Healthcare is embracing the integration of digital identity to create health pass credentials, secure e-health apps and trusted digital services. Identity checks of doctors and healthcare staff to register with the GMC will resume after a temporary hiatus in the pandemic. Digidentity was announced as the technology provider to partner with the General Medical Council (GMC) on allowing doctors to complete their GMC identity check using a secure digital mobile app.

Verifying the identity of doctors ensures a secure, streamlined registration process to hire genuine, trusted health professionals in the healthcare system – a service founded on trust.

Putting verification processes in place for healthcare staff and doctors also maintains trusted data exchange with patients, from transferring test results and personal medical information to making appointments.

Digidentity, selected as a technology partner, will provide digital identity verification for all doctors in line with the standards set by Department for Science, Innovation and Technology (DSIT) for identity assurance.

The service was introduced on Tuesday 25 April, 2023 and will be rolled out as a mandatory requirement for all doctors practising in the UK or looking to work for the NHS or private health firm in the UK. UK medical students are next in line to be required to verify their identities on health systems, as part of a modernising programme within the GMC.

The digitalisation of healthcare and closing the digital skills gap is a cross-sector priority objective beyond the GMC’s programme, as Maria McCann at the Health Service Executive – speaking at Identity Week Europe 2023 in June – explained in terms of delivering health identity management services in Ireland. Delivering trust services and enhancing data quality that is safeguarded is top of the agenda for government across the UK and Ireland.

Jonathan Evans, UK Manager at Digidentity spoke about how their service would benefit the GMC:

“Our service will enable GMC to comply with their statutory obligations to reduce the risk of ID theft and fraud, and to maintain the rigour of the doctor’s registration process. For doctors it will make the process faster and more convenient; simplifying the process and eliminating the need to travel”, stressing the value for doctors. This rigorous process has merits to ultimately maintain the integrity of the UK healthcare services which are already merging digital identity technology into services to trace processes throughout the patient flow.

Before being allowed to join the doctors’ registry, all doctors must have their identity checked digitally by the GMC using the Digidentity app rather than visiting a GMC office to record their biometrics in-person.

Una Lane, Director of Registration and Revalidation at the GMC, said: “Identity checks are a key part of securing GMC registration. We are delighted that we are now able to offer doctors more flexibility by giving them the option to confirm their identity with us quickly, safely and securely using their mobile phone.”

“We hope these checks will save already very busy doctors time and money as they will no longer need to travel to our offices if they choose the digital option. In-person ID checks are still available for those doctors who would prefer to show their documents in person.”

GMC’s identity checks were temporarily paused during the pandemic in accordance with the government’s rules at the time over social distancing to protect hard-working healthcare staff.

From 19 April, 2023 registered GMC doctors and those renewing registrations had three months to book an appointment and complete an ID check. Doctors can still opt for an in-person identity check bringing with them a valid passport and full UK driving licence.