Fitness to practise legislation “makes the UK a much less attractive destination for experienced international specialists” according to GMC CEO. 

GMC’s chief executive Charlie Massey, making reference to the outdated and “not fit for purpose” Medical Act, said this affects the whole gamut of the GMC’s activities, from who can work in the UK, to how it investigates complaints which all too often, the result is a mismatch between our powers and the reality for doctors on the ground. 

In particular, he noted that: 

Currently, we’re required to fully assess every complaint we receive, even if it doesn’t raise fitness to practise concerns and won’t meet our legal thresholds. This is perverse. It means we end up investigating complaints that don’t need investigating, creating unnecessary distress for doctors and diverting our resources away from the things we want to focus us, like supporting good practice.

 “Reforming this outdated legislation means regulation can do what it’s meant to do – protect patients and support its registrants to be first-class doctors.”

Overseas doctors

Speaking about foreign doctors, he said: 

“…as it stands, senior medics from outside the EU face a series of bureaucratic hurdles if they want to work as a consultant or GP in the UK. This includes having to supply over 2,000 pages of evidence to support their application. This onerous process not only makes the UK a much less attractive destination for experienced international specialists, but also means the clinical experts already here are not working to their full potential.”


Concluding his remarks, Mr Massey said:

“But while the world in which doctors practise today is fundamentally different, the legal framework governing how they’re regulated has remained largely unchanged. The model is no longer fit for purpose.

“For both clinicians and the patients in their care, change is long overdue. The needs of today’s health service have moved on since 1983. It’s about time the laws that govern it did too.”

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