MDU welcomes drop in GMC complaints

4 December 2018

The Medical Defence Union (MDU) has welcomed today’s news that complaints about doctors to the GMC dropped by 8% in 2017.

Responding to today's publication of the state of medical education and practice in the UK, Dr Caroline Fryar, MDU head of advisory services, said:

'Overall the report makes for concerning reading and we are not surprised at the GMC's findings about the pressure on doctors. We are becoming more aware of low morale and high levels of stress in many of our members as they work in an increasingly stretched NHS system. In these difficult times, we encourage members to call our 24-hour advisory helpline for support from one of our medico-legal doctors if they have concerns about their own wellbeing or the conditions in which they are working.

'We also help hundreds of members with GMC investigations each year and know how stressful the process can be for doctors. On behalf of our members we've been working with the GMC over a number of years to help them to reduce the burden of investigations. The reduction in the overall number of complaints and the move to see complaints resolved more quickly are good news.

'Nevertheless, for doctors undergoing a GMC investigation, the process can still be extremely distressing, not least because a fitness to practise investigation could end their career. At the MDU, our expert team of medico-legal advisers are available around the clock to support doctors throughout this stressful time.'

Some of the improvements detailed in the report include:

  • the decline in the number of complaints by 13% between 2012-17.
  • the use of the provisional enquiries procedure for complaints that are unlikely to result in action of a doctor's registration. This has resulted in nearly 1,000 complaints being closed without the need for a full investigation since the procedure began.
  • ensuring employers deal with cases locally where possible, such as health cases, leading to a reduction in employer referrals to the GMC by 46% between 2012-17.

This guidance was correct at publication 04/12/2018. It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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