In order to work as a permanent Consultant within the NHS, you will need to be placed onto the Specialist Register. This can be done in three ways: CCT, CESR CP and CESR.
For further information on CESR, read our dedicated CESR article here. Please note, it is possible to work as a Locum Consultant/ Fixed Term Consultant without being the Specialist Register. For more information on this or current opportunities, email us at [email protected].
In this blog article, we explain the process of anonymising your evidence for your CESR application.
The GMC expects all doctors applying for CESR to anonymise sensitive information such as patient and colleague details in any evidence they’re providing. This is to comply with patient confidentiality standards which comes under good medical practice. There are also the General Data Protection Regulations, known as GDPR; a data protection law which, as the name suggests, is in place to protect people’s personal information and the way it’s handled.
If you fail to anonymise your evidence, the GMC can delete any information they deem to be in violation of these rules from your application and can ask you to resubmit it. It’s likely that they will also inform the Royal College you are applying for CESR with that you have failed to anonymise sensitive information within your application.
It’s incredibly important to comply with this as not only can it postpone the application process for you, but it is actually in breach of the law and goes against the good medical practice code (something which won’t reflect well on you as an applicant or a doctor).
Depending on whether you are submitting evidence electronically or submitting hard copy evidence, there are different methods for anonymising sensitive information.
If your evidence is electronic you can use a redaction software - we would recommend making sure you use something reputable as you will be dealing with sensitive information. For example, Adobe Acrobat allows you to redact information for PDFs.
It is also possible to use the font feature on Microsoft Word to hide text, then go to file, click ‘check for issues’, then select the ‘hidden text’ tick box. This will remove any hidden text from the document, but please be aware that this will remove the text permanently. We advise that you create a new copy of the document you’d like to redact text from before attempting this method – this ensures you have a backup should you make a mistake.
If you are submitting hard copy evidence, the GMC advises concealing any sensitive information using a crayon. A marker may seem like the obvious choice, but the GMC has stated that text is often visible through marker once it has been scanned, so crayon is the more reliable choice.
Patient information must be anonymised due to the standards of the previously mentioned good medical practice; doctors have a duty of care that means patients must be able to trust doctors to keep their personal data and information confidential. Though they may seem like obvious things to anonymise, you do not need to redact patient gender or date of birth, as any variety in ages and gender of the patients you’ve worked with can be used to support your experience during your CESR application.
If you’re not sure where patient information might be included, the GMC states that it can often be found in:
Any identifying patient information should be anonymised, including:
Colleague information would come under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the process for identifying colleague information is similar to that of a patient, but with a few differences. Colleagues include people you’ve provided a reference for, who have been involved in a complaint submitted by you or who you have assessed.
You’re likely to find colleague information in:
Colleague information that should be anonymised:
Once you have anonymised your evidence, you will need to verify it. We will cover this in more detail in a future article, but this information is also available on the GMC’s website.
If you would like advice on how to organise your CESR evidence, read our blog post here.
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Gmc-uk.org. (2019). How do I anonymise my evidence?. [online] Available at: https://www.gmc-uk.org/registration-and-licensing/join-the-register/registration-applications/specialist-application-guides/cesr-with-registration/how-do-i-anonymise-my-evidence [Accessed 8 Nov. 2019].