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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GP resources plea over smoking ban

GPs demanded the GMC scrap its policy of removing the names of doctors from its website when a complaint is made against them.

The policy was tantamount to a 'presumption of guilt' and was threatening the livelihoods of sessional GPs in particular because prospective employers could not check their credentials, GPs argued.

After one of the most impassioned debates of the conference, LMC representatives unanimously passed a motion arguing that removal from the website should only happen 'where there is prima facie evidence of immediate and real danger to the public'.

Dr Roger Chapman, a GPC member and a GP in Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire, said a GP in his area had suffered as a result of 'malevolent or incompetent PCTs'.

He described a case in which an elderly patient with dementia died as the result of an error for which the GP was vicariously responsible.

The GP approached the coroner and provided full details of the incident and co-operated in full with all inquiries.

The police found no grounds for investigation, the coroner commended the GP and the family of the patient did not complain. But the PCT referred the GP to the GMC.

Dr Chapman said: 'This GP has a long and unblemished record and was well liked by colleagues and, ironically, by the PCT. He is widely regarded as excellent, yet this crass piece of behaviour nearly destroyed this doctor's career. PCTs have no idea what a GMC report means to a

doctor.'

The GMC threw out the case almost immediately, he added.

Dr Peter Holden cited the case of Dr Andrew Bargery (Pulse, June 4) who had faced a GMC investigation after completing an IB113 form.

The GMC risked losing the confidence of the profession unless it changed its policy, Dr Holden said.

Dr Brian Keighley, a GP in Balfron, Stirlingshire, and a member of the GMC, said the council had to take action to protect practices and patients from 'unscrupulous, poorly-performing doctors moving around the country'.

But he promised forthcoming software would resolve the problem with the website.

GPs also voted unanimously for clear guidance for PCOs to ensure GPs' careers were not jeopardised by overzealous referral to the GMC.

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