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Government's new GP complaints system slammed by GMC

By Gareth Iacobucci

The GMC claims Government plans to oversee complaints against GPs with a new adjudicator will be open to political interference.

It says a new adjudicator, which will oversee fitness to practice hearings involving GPs under the Health and Social Care Bill, will work to a Department of Health manifesto and answer to the Secretary of State for Heath.

In its official response to the bill, the GMC claims the independence of the so-called Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator would be ‘fatally weakened' by being answerable to the Government.

The OHPA, which is set to consist of between one and three high powered legal figures, would be ‘explicitly and directly within the sphere of influence of the Secretary of State for Health,' claims the GMC.

‘Far from being an independent body separate from the Government and constitutionally insulated from day-to-day political pressures, OHPA will be a manifestation of the Department of Health in England.'

The GMC has previously been accused of enthusiastically carrying out the Government's bidding when it comes to tougher regulation and is pressing ahead with plans to bring in a civil standard of justice for GPs in fitness to practice cases, regardless of proposals for such a move in the bill.

A Department of Health Spokesperson said: 'Patients and the public need to have complete confidence in health professionals. The Office of Health Professions Adjudicator will make decisions about whether a doctor should remain in practice. It's independence will ensure that it makes decisions without being influenced by either Government or the professions.'

GMC: attacked plans for adjudicator to oversee complaints against GPs GMC: attacked plans for adjudicator to oversee complaints against GPs

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