MDU welcomes plans to speed up GMC investigations

The MDU welcomes the Department of Health plans to reform the GMC's fitness to practise (FTP) procedures.

Responding to today's publication of the government response to the consultation Promoting professionalism, reforming regulation, which aims to reform healthcare regulators' FTP processes and operating frameworks, MDU head of professional standards and liaison Dr Michael Devlin said:

'We welcome the government's undertaking to provide the GMC with powers to amend their procedures. FTP processes need to be more responsive and proportionate. We agree the GMC should be able to make a decision on a case without a panel hearing, if appropriate. It is good to see the government recognise that the current system is bureaucratic and time-consuming and that it can be 'burdensome and…stressful for patients, their families, registrants and employers'.

'Currently it is stressful for most doctors and it has been clear for a long time the GMC needs the power to amend the FTP procedures in a more efficient way. Of course there will need to be safeguards and the GMC will need to continue to consult widely, as it does now, with organisations like the MDU that understand the procedures and the effect on members.

'We support the removal of the GMC's right to appeal decisions to the high court, though this is unlikely to be of any significant relief to doctors as the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) will still retain the right to appeal decisions.

'The GMC's powers will also be modified to exclude reflective notes from FTP procedures. This will help to reassure the profession. The MDU's experience shows it can be helpful for doctors to offer evidence of their reflections when responding to a GMC investigation, for example to demonstrate they have learnt from the experience. But the point is, it should be for doctors to offer such evidence and not for the GMC to request it.'

This page was correct at publication on 09/07/2019. Any guidance 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.