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'End lay majorities on GMC conduct panels'

Veteran GMC members are calling for all professional conduct committees to comprise a majority of doctors after the Privy Council overturned two GMC rulings against GPs.

The demand came as the GMC admitted that most

panels now have a majority of lay members.

GP members of the GMC claim the growing use of lay majorities on the committee for disciplining doctors has led to 'inconsistent' decisions.

Dr Krishna Korlipara, the longest-standing GP member of the council, has written to GMC president Professor Sir Graeme Catto asking for the practice of using lay majorities to end.

He said the Privy Council rulings had 'rubbished the GMC'. In the case of GP Dr Narasinga Mukunda Rao, who made one negligent mistake in an otherwise unblemished 25-year career, the Privy Council overturned a ruling of serious professional misconduct by a committee with a lay majority.

Dr Korlipara, a GP in Bolton, Lancashire, said: 'When I was on the panel there was invariably a medical majority. There was no situation when there was not. It's fundamentally wrong if that is not the case.'

Fellow GMC member Dr Surendra Kumar, a GP in Widnes, Cheshire, said: There are too many lay members and too many with bias which clouds judgment. Medical members are few and far between. They are not available.'

Dr Nicola Toynton, a GMC member and a GP in Plymouth, said getting doctors to sit on panels was a major problem. 'You need working doctors who have an idea of the pressure they are under.'

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