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GP members say ending the medical majority of its council would destroy GMC effectiveness

GMC 'self-regulation' revolt

GMC proposals to end the

medical majority on its council and effectively bring to an end professionally led regulation could destroy the council's effectiveness, its GP members are warning.

The plan to move to a structure where only half of council members are doctors is part of the GMC's response to Chief Medical Officer Sir Liam

Donaldson's Good Doctors, Safer

Patients report on regulation.

But some GP council members fear the move will leave the regulator unable to properly judge standards.

Dr Krishna Korlipara, the GMC's longest serving elected member and a GP in Bolton, said: 'I don't think it will be fit for purpose and ironically patients will be harmed if there is not sufficient input from the profession to set standards to protect the public. We seem to be going along the politically correct path but not necessarily in the interests of the public.'

Dr Korlipara is hoping to marshall support from GPs, the BMA and patients against the proposed changes.

'The register is about admitting doctors who have achieved proper standards,' he said.

'Who is going to determine what those proper standards are if there are not a significant number of medical members on the GMC?'

Dr Alexandra Freeman, a GP in Southampton and an elected GMC member since 1999, said she thought the current balance of 60 per cent doctors and 40 per cent lay members was 'about right'.

She said: 'I would be seriously concerned about the future working of the GMC and in particular its effectiveness.

'I feel very strongly that those doctors who sit on the GMC should be in active practice and used to the realities of day-to-day medical practice.'

Dr Freeman said doctors should be allowed to stand for election rather than being appointed.

Dr Brian Keighley, a GP in Balfron, Stirlingshire, said he understood why the GMC had voted to approve the CMO's recommendation, but added: 'I think that it is in danger of removing our professionalism.

'My own position is that a medical majority is important.'

But Professor Mike Pringle,

also a council member and GP, backed the move to end a medical majority. He said: 'It's important to get professional representation but we also need to be mindful of other stakeholders.'

A GMC spokeswoman said the change was 'central' to building a strong and trusted regulation framework.

She said: 'We recognise that there is a need for medical regulation to move on. This requires a new, more balanced composition for the GMC.'

hcrump@cmpmedica.com

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