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Lords rejects plans to pilot responsible officers

Medical defence chiefs have expressed dismay after plans to trial the idea of a new army of GMC regulators at PCT level was rejected in favour of a national rollout.

The House of Lords voted against a call for the system of so-called responsible officers to be tried in one of more PCTs, to see if it actually works.

GPs, legal experts, MPs and peers and ministers have expressed fears at the huge powers to be granted to the officers- who will normally be existing PCT chief medical officers-and at the potential conflicts of interest. Conservative peer, Lord Howe, proposed the idea of the pilots, saying he feared ‘internal politics and professional jealousies' would lead to major flaws in the new regulatory system. After the amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill was defeated, Dr Stephanie Bown, director of communications at the Medical Protection Society, said ‘huge concerns' remained over how responsible officers would work in practice.

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