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The number of GPs facing GMC hearings into their conduct has risen sharply.

For the first eight months of this year there have been 31 hearings into conduct. For the whole of 2004 there were 32.

Last year 107 GMC cases – on conduct, health, performance and following criminal conviction – were brought against GPs. So far this year there have been 82, despite a typical summer lull.

Dr Stephanie Bown, head of medical services for the Medical Protection Society, said GPs were also facing more GMC prosecutions initiated by NHS fraudbusters. Since 2000 GPs had been involved in a total of 25 fraud-based cases – 11 of which were reported since 2004.

The Medical Defence Union said for the first six months of this year 449 members had asked it for help with the GMC, compared with 590 in 2004.

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