Doctors who harm patients to face tougher sanctions, GMC proposes
MPS is preparing a detailed response on behalf of doctors in reply to the GMC’s latest proposals for doctors who cause harm to patients, through professional misconduct or clinical error, to face sanctions even if they can demonstrate that their practice has improved.
The GMC is consulting on:
- Imposing sanctions where doctors make serious clinical errors, even where they have successfully retrained and improved their practice, if they failed to heed concerns and take steps to protect patients sooner.
- Whether panels should require a doctor to apologise where he or she has previously failed to do so.
- Imposing more serious action in cases where doctors fail to raise concerns about a colleague’s fitness to practise or take prompt action where a patient’s basic care needs are not being met.
- Improved public protection in cases where a doctor has bullied colleagues and put patients at risk or discriminated against others in their professional or personal life.
MPS is currently examining the proposals in detail and will be formulating a response on behalf of doctors, which is due for publication later this year.
Source: Pulse, GMC
Criminal investigations looking into matters of clinical practice, or the use of resources, would be inappropriate and highly disruptive as well as stressful for staff. We know that criminal investigations, no matter if they end up with a case being brought or not, create an atmosphere of fear that has repercussions on a culture of openness.
MPS is concerned that in recent years there has been a growing trend towards introducing new laws and regulations to infl uence the behaviour of healthcare professionals. Placing ever more regulatory burdens on doctors is not, in MPS’s opinion, the best way of driving an open learning culture in healthcare or improving patient safety. Mentoring and leadership from the top, alongside education and training, are the most effective ways of ensuring high quality patient care and a profession that feels able to report mistakes.
We have worked closely with a group of healthcare organisations to call on Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health, to introduce safeguards to be added to the Bill, which aim to ensure that doctors are not subjected to unwarranted investigations that waste time and money. Whatever the response, we will continue to lobby on the Bill to minimise the negative impact for members.