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Civil standard will increase GP cases

A former GMC case examiner predicts the number of doctors hauled before fitness-to-practise panels will increase by half when new civil standards of proof are brought in.

Dr Krishna Korlipara, a GP in Bolton and veteran GMC member, claimed that it planned to use a 'flexibly applied' civil standard even at early stages of disciplinary proceedings, when case examiners have to decide whether the facts warrant a doctor being put before a fitness-to-practise panel.

Dr Korlipara said: 'If at that stage the civil standard of proof is applied to a doctor facing multiple allegations, examiners may decide on the balance of probabilities that it does warrant greater sanction. So, a 50% increase could be seen in the number of doctors facing fitness-to-practise panels,' he said.

Around 300 fitness-to-practise hearings are held each year in the UK, with on average fewer than 50 doctors per year losing their registrations.

A GMC spokesperson pointed to plans to try to dispose of cases at an earlier stage for less serious complaints, with the GMC agreeing sanctions with individual doctors. 'We think it unlikely that a greater number of cases will go before our fitness-to-practise panels.'

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