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A faulty production line

Strikes may put doctors' training and registration in jeopardy, regulators warn

The GMC and health education bosses have warned junior doctors that their training and registration may be put in jeopardy by taking prolonged industrial action.

The GMC has said that junior doctors may face ‘sanctions’ if any patient comes to harm as a result of the strikes.

Meanwhile, Health Education England has said that any trainees who miss more than two weeks work through the strikes will have their training ‘reviewed’.

Last week, the BMA announced plans for junior doctors to take monthly industrial action, of a period of five days at a time, in response to the Government’s imposition of a contract.

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges issued a statement highly critical of junior doctors, but Pulse reported that some of its members – including the RCGP – distanced themselves from the statement.

The GMC and HEE have become the latest bodies to state their position on the industrial action.

In a statement about the planned industrial action, GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: ‘The GMC has powers… to investigate and apply sanctions to any doctor whose behaviour has fallen consistently or seriously below the standards required. Where we are presented with evidence that a doctor’s actions may have directly led to a patient or patients coming to significant harm, we would be obliged to investigate and if necessary take appropriate action.’

Mr Dickson urged doctors who are contemplating further and escalated industrial action to ‘pause and consider the possible implications for patients’ which will ‘mean the cancellation of tens of thousands of operations and procedures, outpatient appointments and tests’.

HEE has said that the prolonged nature of the industrial action could have a consequence for doctors in training.

In a statement, it said: ‘HEE respects the rights of doctors in training to take industrial action as employees. Whilst industrial action in the short term may not necessarily compromise their training, there could be circumstances where prolonged industrial action and loss of training experience impact on a doctor’s ability to demonstrate competence and the satisfactory completion of the curriculum.

‘To manage this issue, HEE will comply with GMC guidance that states if a trainee misses more than two weeks (when a trainee would normally be at work), over and above annual leave, that the satisfactory training progression of a trainee should be reviewed at their next Annual Review of Competence Progression (ARCP).’

Readers' comments (26)

  • I would imagine the majority of trainees are aware of HEE's two week rule on unscheduled leave. It is the reason why bereaved trainees return to work too soon. There has to be some kind of ceiling of minimum training time but 2 weeks is a bit harsh.

    As for the GMC- words fail me.

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  • The iron was hot and ready to strike and then BMA capitulated demonstrating utter lackadaisical approach and jeopardising the JDs situation. This was a moment that would have changed the tide, but no, BMA couldn't let that happen.

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  • Maybe GMC should read their own guidance and consider whether the lopsided approach speaking out about concerns for patients with disregard to concerns about doctors mental and physical welfare is justified.

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  • "I have seen the enemy. It is ourselves"

    Bruce Shepherd AM

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  • Perhaps the GMC would like to hunt down all those evil doctors who take maternity/paternity leave and thereby endanger the lives of patients by stressing the rotas

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  • GMC clearly has no concern for the welfare of Junior Doctors - they should be ashamed of themselves!

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