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GPs risk action over medical reports

I write to express my anger at a letter from GMC president Professor Graeme Catto (May 7) in a response to an article about

Dr Jeff Featherstone and his unfortunate experience of a GMC complaint (News, April 23).

The problem was minor and related to communication. The patient had bypassed local resolution and taken her problem directly to the GMC.

I had a similar experience last year where a patient bypassed local resolution and took her vexatious complaint to the GMC. Like Dr Featherstone, I had to give my employment details past and present to the GMC. They each got a letter asking about my performance before the GMC decided that there was no case to answer.

I was angry that I could be put in this situation on the whim of a difficult patient. I wrote to Professor Catto to express my sense of injustice at the way my case was handled but he did not reply.

It took a second letter a month later before I got an obfuscatory reply from a case worker in Manchester. It seems that the good professor pays more attention

to the medical press than to his personal in-tray. Well done Pulse for getting him to reply!

I remain deeply unhappy about his self-satisfied reply which seems to imply that the GMC has a statutory responsibility to investigate all complaints.

This is surely a charter for difficult and malicious patients to make allegations which then lead to a spiral of paperwork and a stressful few months for the doctor. Can this be right or fair? What happened to the push towards local resolution? What about common-sense? This cannot enhance the standing of the GMC in the profession.

I tried to put my problems down to experience but the event has continued to trouble me both on a personal level and on the wider issue of natural justice.

Dr JM Inwood

Edinburgh

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