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Fresh row over standard of proof

By Ingrid Torjesen

The GMC has claimed proposed changes to medical regulation would not lower the standard of proof used to judge the most serious fitness-to-practise cases.

But the council has admitted in new guidance that the lower standard of ‘on the balance of probabilities' will be used in cases where GPs face sanctions short of erasure.

The admission came as the GMC launched a consultation on the proposals.

Its guidance prompted a fresh row with medical defence bodies, who claim increasing numbers of GPs will be forced out of practice under the proposals.

Dr Priya Singh, medical director of the Medical Protection Society, said applying the lower standard of proof in less serious cases ‘will inevitably lead to significantly more findings of impairment to practise and all sanctions are open to the panel'.

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