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'Bombard the Government'

GPs need to bombard the Government with protests against the Chief Medical Officer's proposals to overhaul medical regulation, the president of the GMC is exhorting.

Professor Sir Graeme Catto said ministers would be unable to ignore the volume of criticism from the profession against Sir Liam Donaldson's plans in Good Doctors, Safer


His comments came as the number of doctors signing Pulse's Justice for GPs petition soared past 600 in just two weeks.

The petition is in protest against moves to weaken the burden of proof in fitness to practise cases from the criminal 'beyond reasonable doubt' to the civil standard 'on the

balance of probabilities' (see box, right).

Sir Graeme told a BMA conference last week that if the CMO's proposals went through unchecked it would 'change the world for all of us'.

He said: 'Don't think that somebody else will respond for you. Tell him your individual views.'

Sir Graeme admitted the GMC had had a rough ride over the past few years, with Dame Janet Smith's Shipman Inquiry criticisms having delivered a 'fairly marked blow'.

Now the 'most senior doctor in the land' was taking a 'potshot' at the council, he added.

Among Sir Liam's other

proposals is for a network of

580 GMC affiliates to handle

local concerns about doctors and to strip the GMC of its role as adjudicator in fitness to

practise cases.

Sir Graeme said he accepted it was unclear that a medical majority on the GMC's council commanded anyone's respect and said he was open to a more 'balanced' structure.

He wanted to see the GMC's role as holder of the medical register beefed-up and for it to become a 'positive attribute'.

He said: 'Other countries are looking at "credentialing", where you put your credentials and scope of practice on the

register. It would be useful for the profession and the public.'

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