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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GMC survives report but further reforms demanded

The GMC has been warned that if it fails to act in patients' best interests the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence will be asked to step in.

The council is set to play an increasingly key role in monitoring the GMC's work after being hailed as a success by the Shipman Inquiry.

'There is a major reason to expect that change for the better might continue, namely the CHRE,' said inquiry chair Dame Janet Smith. 'The GMC must know that, if it fails to act in the best interests of patients and the public, the CHRE will intervene.'

The council will be asked to conduct a review in 2006/7 to check on the GMC's progress with its fitness to practise procedures. Dame Janet called for the review to have the authority to examine casework decisions at all levels. She also recommended the CHRE set up a panel of professional and lay people to review standards, and appeal against 'acquittals' and unduly lenient sanctions.

Sandy Forrest, director of the CHRE, said the report would have a 'significant impact' on the council's work.

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