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GPs take GMC to task over private health insurance for staff

GPs have registered their anger at the GMC's policy of offering private medical insurance to its staff, as the regulator pledged to press ahead with revalidation.

The anger surfaced as LMC representatives heard from - and later grilled - GMC Council member Professor Malcolm Lewis today about the forthcoming rollout of revalidation.

Speaking at the LMCs Conference in Liverpool, Professor Lewis had attempted to ease GPs' concerns about the process, claiming it was not necessary for every detail to be in place for the process to begin.

He told LMCs that remediation and revalidation were separate issues, and that sticking points over how remediation would work should not derail the process, as the majority of GPs would not need remediation.

He said: 'We've got evidence that the vast majority of people in general practice are ready to roll with this. To delay it would send out the wrong message.'

'We've always had issues with remediation. It is a parallel process, it does not prevent revalidation. Remediation itself shouldn't be a delaying factor. Don't let it stop revalidation.'

But Dr Tony Grewal, medical director of Londonwide LMCs, said he suspected 'most disagreed' with Professor Lewis about remediation, and went on to attack the GMC for its policy of providing private medical insurance for staff, as first revealed by Pulse back in January.

Dr Grewal said: 'How dare the GMC justify providing private medical insurance for its staff?', which received rapturous applause from GPs present.

Professor Lewis admitted the issue 'is contentious', and said it was 'one of several issues' the new GMC council would look at next year.

But he said the GMC needed to ensure it recruited and retained quality staff. He said: 'The GMC is a major organisation, it has to have good staff. Staff retention is an issue. The total cost [of providing private medical insurance] is 0.7% of the total staffing budget.'

LMCs will vote on tomorrow on a list of motions regarding revalidation and the GMC.

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