The real tragedy of this story is that, while the GMC will regard this 2 month suspension as a minor 'slap on the wrist' designed to make an example of Dr Beerstecher without unduly affecting his ability to continue practising, the tribunal - and the majority of us as professionals - will have little insight into the true effects of this sanction. Firstly, Dr Beerstecher will be removed from the Performers List, and will have to apply to be reinstated. He cannot do this until his licence has been restored, and his application will take several months. Moreover, he will almost certainly have had his membership of his defence union revoked, as you cannot be a member of a defence union unless you are on the performers list. As you cannot apply to join the performers list until you are a member of a defence union, he must apply to the defence union first, and that application - which, again, will only be accepted once his licence has been restored - may take several weeks. During this prolonged period where Dr Beerstecher is no longer suspended but cannot work, any insurance he holds for locum cover will not apply as so he will have to pay for locums out of his own pocket, whilst earning nothing. As a single handed practice, the bill is likely to run into five figures. Most practices would buckle under the strain and face the risk of closure. But let's rejoice and appreciate how well the GMC have put the interests of the patients first.
Sounds to me like a classic case of an iron fist in a velvet glove. Of course the GMC do not ask for reflections from a doctor under investigation. But if he or she does not present some reflections as part of remediation (odd, isn't it, how you are expected to 'remediate' even before you have been found guilty of anything to remedy...) then the GMC will simply say that you lack insight, and hang you out to dry anyway. And when you do voluntarily produce reflections from the so-called confidential appraisal process, the GMC will cherry pick your phrases, take them out of context wherever possible to use them against you, as they did in my case. As an appraiser now, I advise my appraisees not to document anything in their appraisals that they are not prepared to hear used against them in court. Because it can be, it is and it will.
I think anonymisation is a step in the right direction. Anonymity for all until found guilty would be another. Conducting investigations in a fair and balanced manner would be even better, rather than constantly treating everyone who comes to the attention of the GMC as guilty until proven innocent (and probably guilty even then). If that sounds excessive, just consider that the GMC never apologise to anyone, and that there is no such thing as a not guilty verdict in a fitness to practice hearing - only 'proved' or 'not proved'. As any Scot will tell you, 'not proved' means 'we still think your guilty, we just haven't got enough evidence to prove it'.
And as anyone who has come to the attention of the GMC can be considered to have 'brought the profession into disrepute' and can therefore reasonably be sanctioned to 'maintain public confidence in the medical profession'...
How many of those seven were mentally unwell before the GMC investigation started?
The GMC do not ask for reflections to be made available to them, but if they are, they will cherry pick them for any phrase which can be taken out of context to suggest lack of fitness to practice.
And if you do not provide evidence of your reflections, you will be found to be lacking in insight and guilty of failure to remediate.
Guilty if you do, guilty if you don't. The basic problem here is that the GMC do not conduct a fair and impartial investigation: they merely look for any scrap of information which could be used to convince the MPTS of someone's guilt based on the balance of probabilities. As the prosecution, they are not in the least bit interested in justice, merely finding someone guilty to justify their own existence.
The GMC, as usual, plays with words to hide from the truth. While, strictly speaking, it is true to say that the GMC does not ask doctors to provide their reflective statements if they are investigating a concern, it nevertheless expects them to do so voluntarily and punishes them if they do not. If Dr Bawa-Garba had NOT provided her open reflections in her appraisal e-portfolio, the GMC would have argued that she was unfit to practice because she had not shown evidence of remediation and lacked insight. Hung if you do, hung if you don't.
I never thought I would say it, but this time I actually agree with the GMC. I do not believe for one moment that their shameful treatment of Dr Bawa-Garba was racist. The unpleasant truth is that they treat everyone this badly.
Tremendous, and so, so true. So glad to see you back. Welcome home.
Nothing I would like better than to take a break, but when there's a tsunami bearing down on you it's not the time to go sunbathing.
I'm a GP, and fully support the junior doctors in their fight: but this is a mistake. As soon as the Daily Mail get so much as a whiff of the first child to die because of a lack of emergency cover, watch the public support melt away faster than a snowflake in hell. There are other possibilities, and frankly making the strike emergency cover only over an indefinate period would have been a much more sensible option.
Actually, I think 2% are wrestling with the decision to walk out on Tuesday; the other 98% are quite happy with it. Given this bully-boy tactic, I would think the 2% are wrestling somewhat less than they were.
Well, shoot me down, but I think it's worth a try. We can't complain about workload and then decry a pilot scheme which might actually mean the lifting on a huge burden off some practices shoulders
I don't agree with some of Shaba's suggestions, which are just too controversial. Refuse to do house calls for all but palliative care? You can see the Daily Mail headline now when a patient dies as a result. No, there is only one strategy which will work here. A mass application by GPs, dult publicised, to the GMC for a certificate to practice abroad and mass undated resignation letters from the NHS to the BMA. That, together with a unified campaign involving other disciplines, led by the BMA and RCGP (for once) is our only chance to gain support from the public who will rightly ask what will happen if their surgery closes, or becomes private. The government have imposed one contract too far here. It can not and must not be allowed to succeed, or the NHS is doomed. Industrial action in its conventional form is highly risky, unlikely to succeed and is unlikely to gather public support when the body count rises. Sadly, a much more likely outcome is that doctors will abandon the system altogether. Let's not forget - doctors don't strike. They leave.
Sadly, it really is about time we stopped discussing the future of general practice, and starting discussing what is going to replace it.
Well, if this is the best the taskforce can come up with - reduce the number of secondary care training posts so that there is more money available to provide GP training posts which will lie empty because we already can't fill the ones we've got - I for one, ladies and gentlemen, can see where some money could have been saved straight away.
Like most practices, we have a small number of patients who, over the course of time, have moved just outside our practice boundary. Most have been patients for years. Normally, in the interests of patient continuity, we have accommodated this and visited when necessary. But if NHS England insist on bringing in this half-baked, ill thought-out and ridiculous scheme in 3 weeks time, we would be very tempted to write to these patients apologetically and inform them, that because of new government legislation, we will no longer feel able to provide a home visiting service. Multiply our small number of patients by the number of practices in the country and you have a very significant of patients. I don't think it will take a very long time for the scheme to be shown for the nonsense it really is.
GPs do not strike. They leave.
You start charging, and bang goes the doctor-patient relationship. Try telling your patient that their sore throat is viral and they really don't need antibiotics when they've just paid the receptionist a tenner... or that you want to arrange some tests and see them again... and charge for a second appointment. Of course, we're strapped for money but really, this is a false economy. The cornerstone of the NHS is general practice, and for all its flaws, it works extremely efficiently and is the envy of the world... including those countries who charge for GP consultations. A greater investment in general practice is what is needed, to allow us to continue to do what we are already doing well on a much larger scale. The economies will be fewer hospital admissions and unnecessary A&E and OOH attendances.
Mark my words, this isn't anything to do with the needs of patients on Christmas Eve: nor is it anything to do with common sense - we all know how quiet surgeries are then. No, this is purely and simply a matter of GPs locking antlers with NHS England in what the government see as a battle to show who is boss. And don't say I didn't warn you, ladies and gentlemen - if we let them get away with it this time, next year they'll be expecting us to work Christmas Day and Boxing Day between 8am and 8pm for no extra money.
The real 'elephant in the room' is that all these changes are being discussed but money is never mentioned. It is truly frightening to think that such an august body should even be considering introducing 24/7 working in general practice again without any increase in funding. The solution here surely must be to invest in general practice - invest money to allow practices to develop reasonable premises and take on new partners so that the increasing wokload can be handled without damaging that most important of resources - morale. I would have no qualms about taking on evening or weekend work again, looking after our own patients 24/7, if it were as part of a reasonable shift system. But the money is not there to allow us to do that.