Reforming the GMC should be an ‘urgent’ priority for the next Government, a leading medical defence organisation has recommended.

Pulse reported that the Medical Protection Society (MPS) is calling on the next Government to prioritise improvements to the ways in which doctors are held to account, including acting on ‘a long overdue commitment’ to remove the GMC’s right of appeal over decisions made by fitness-to-practise panels. 

According to the report, MPS said that it is ‘vital’ this happens ‘without further delay’, as it is an important step in rebuilding trust between doctors and their regulator.

MPS president Professor Dame Jane Dacre said:

“Doctors expect to be accountable for the healthcare they provide. They also have a right to expect that when they are held to account it is done in a way that is fair, proportionate, efficient and sensitively handled.

“Sadly, we see first-hand when supporting doctors through various processes that this is not always the case.

“Few areas of regulation in the UK are more overdue reform than healthcare professional regulation. Thousands of doctors go through stressful and slow GMC processes each year, with the regulator working within the confines of legislation that is over 40 years old.”

The organisation also said that a recent survey of its members who had been subject to a GMC investigation revealed that 91% found the investigation ‘caused them stress and anxiety’, 64% said it ‘impacted on their personal life’ and nearly a third (31%) said they experienced ‘suicidal thoughts’.

UK Fitness to Practise News

A GMC spokesperson said, according to the report:

“We have made it clear that we are not opposed to the decision of removing our right of appeal. The Government will now decide how and when to bring in these changes.

“The fact that the Government has stated it intends to legislate to remove it does not allow us to ignore our statutory duties.

“We would be acting unlawfully if we did not give due consideration to the exercise of our powers to appeal a decision where the decision could reasonably be considered insufficient to protect the public.”

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