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Independents' Day

Ill-served by GMC ­ but who do we complain to?

Following the letter from Dr Richard Coleman (June 9) it may interest readers to learn there is no mechanism for complaining about the GMC itself.

Rare shafts of light do emerge from that organisation, in particular the publication of Good Medical Practice, a document of unambiguous quality and clarity. The problem is that the GMC fails to apply its own guidance to itself.

I worked for five years for two of the UK's leading defence organisations and frustration at the behaviour of the GMC was a daily feature of work experienced by me and my medicolegal colleagues.

After one particularly glaring exhibition, I wrote to a senior member of the GMC to inquire about any complaints procedure to enable me to bring a complaint against them. The response was for the GMC to contact a senior member of the defence body for which I worked and more or less instruct him to get this troublesome individual off its back.

Quite rightly, the GMC advises doctors to participate fully in addressing any legitimate complaint against them, but they themselves insulate themselves from complaint.

My own view is that the profession has been ill-served by self-regulation in the shape of the GMC over the past decade or more. An appointed regulatory body arguably would be more objective and more accountable. It also would not be obsessed with self-preservation, nor so easily swayed by adverse publicity.

The profession need not fear ditching the GMC. Any replacement would have little difficulty in performing better.

Dr David Cowie




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