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Lakhani apologises over star ratings

The chair of the RCGP has been forced to apologise to its council following his botched handling of plans for compulsory practice accreditation.

Professor Mayur Lakhani apologised during a weekend meeting in a bid to diffuse anger and embarrassment among council members over media reports of 'star ratings' for practices that were subse-quently withdrawn.

He also faced down de-mands from grassroots GPs for his resignation and later insisted he had the confidence of the council.

But the RCGP has vowed to press on with a voluntary accreditation system, which it will review and present to the council in September. A college source said it planned to reopen talks with the Government 'soon' ­ after suspending talks last week.

A senior Government source said ministers had at first been 'delighted' the RCGP had offered up the scheme and then 'bemused' Professor Lakhani 'could not take his organisation with him'. The source said ministers were keen to pursue a similar scheme 'sooner rather than later'.

According to sources within the RCGP council, there was profound unhappiness at the way reports appeared in the na-tional media. They warned the debacle was the result of a relationship between the chair and the Government that had become 'too cosy'.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, a GP in Stanmore, Middlesex, and a council member, said: 'The college should learn to be careful to avoid getting into discussions on things with the Government that have a contractual impact.'

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