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Fitness-to-practise hearings to increase by 10%

The Government is planning for the possibility of an increase of up to 10% in the number of fitness-to-practise hearings for doctors on the back of its hugely controversial move towards a civil standard of proof.

An increase in cases, which has been widely predicted by opponents of the plan, would cost the NHS up to £2.6m a year, according to an impact assessment for the health and social care bill.

But the Government claimed it was still hopeful the move would be ‘cost-neutral', partly because more of the brunt of regulation will be taken by the new regulator, the Care Quality Commission.

The move confirmed the Government's backing for a lower standard of proof, which is already being fast tracked by the GMC, despite opposition including a petition of more than 1,000 GPs who backed Pulse's Justice for GPs campaign.

Dr Krishna Korlipara, a GP in Bolton, Lancashire, who sits on the GMC, said: ‘When cases are judged on the balance of probability it must surely be that a greater number of cases will go through, and 10% seems to be a reasonable estimate.'

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