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GMC reels from GPs' vote of no confidence

By Helen Crump

Almost half of GPs have little or no confidence in the GMC, a survey commissioned for the regulator has revealed.

The GMC's annual tracking survey found 49 per cent of GPs were either 'not at all confident' or 'not very confident' in the way the body regulates the medical profession.

Some 46 per cent of those expressing no confidence felt the GMC was biased and did not treat doctors fairly.

A third of the 211 GPs questioned by MORI said they did not trust the council and 45 per cent felt it did not know what was going on day to day.

The findings come as a blow to the GMC as it awaits the Chief Medical Officer's report on how doctors should be regulated.

As part of his report, Sir Liam Donaldson will consider whe-ther to follow the recommendations of the Shipman Inquiry and strip the GMC of its role in adjudicating doctors' fitness to practise.

He could even decide to axe the GMC and set up a new, independent regulator.

Dr Krishna Korlipara, the longest-serving elected member of the GMC and a GP in Bolton, said the findings were a reflection of the widespread criticism of the council in the wake of the Shipman case.

But he added that the GMC had already made a number of reforms which doctors would come to realise were of benefit to the profession.

He said: 'Taking everything into account, it's surprising we still have the level of support that we have got.

'When we have had the opportunity to carry the reforms through, the profession will see that the GMC has had the bottle to take the right decisions, even when the going was tough.'

But other GPs expressed doubts about the direction of the GMC's reforms, as indicated by its decision to change its

'slogan' from 'guiding doctors' to 'regulating doctors'.

Dr Duncan Burridge, a GP

in Hexham, Northumberland, said: 'You do worry that perhaps it's swung too far over to the patient's side of things.'

The survey also revealed nearly a third of GPs opposed revalidation.

Finlay Scott, GMC chief executive, suspected this was borne out of frustration at delays in introducing the scheme.

Hospital doctors' views on the GMC were almost identical to GPs with 48 per cent lacking confidence.

More than two-thirds of GPs and consultants were not confident in their employers' management abilities.

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