The General Medical Council (GMC) published their State of Medical Education and Practice in the UK 2018 report today.
Commenting on the report Dr Rob Hendry, Medical Director at Medical Protection, said:
"The report provides yet more evidence about the pressures and increasing stress levels that doctors are now experiencing. It is very worrying that so many doctors are considering their options to step away from the front line and it is welcome to see the GMC calling for change to address the staffing problems that are contributing to this.
“Reforms are now needed to reduce the burden of regulation on doctors. This report shows that the vast majority of GMC investigations are closed without action, the end result being that about a thousand doctors go through a stressful process each year, while many complainants also end up disappointed with the outcome.
“Improvements have been made to the complaints triage process and a growing number of complaints are now being closed earlier in the process. The GMC must continue to build on these improvements and we need the Government to finally introduce legislation that will enable the GMC to further reduce the number of unnecessary investigations.
“The Medical Act needs to be reformed so they are given more discretion to not take forward investigations in cases where the allegations clearly do not require action. Its current powers were framed over 30 years ago – when a very small number of complaints were received and the GMC could investigate each and every one. The GMC now receives around 8,000 complaints a year but very few of these come close to the threshold of serious concern that the GMC was set up to address.
“It has been nearly a year since the Department of Health and Social Care’s consultation on proposals for improving regulation. Reforms now need to be taken forward that would create a fairer and more proportionate system that patients, healthcare professionals and the Government can have confidence in.”
Notes to editors
The Medical Act 1983, 35C (4) states that ‘the Investigation Committee shall investigate the allegation and decide whether it should be considered by a Fitness to Practise Panel’.
MPS feels this should be amended to allow the GMC more discretion over which allegations require an investigation.
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