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New super regulator can pursue 'too lenient' misconduct cases

GPs cleared of misconduct by the GMC could face High Court action if a new super-regulator rules the decision has been too lenient.

The Council for Regulation of Healthcare Professionals, which came into being in April, has the power to refer fitness-to-practise decisions to the High Court.

The council is to begin a consultation next month on the criteria it will use to judge whether the GMC has been too lenient. A spokesperson predicted only 'one or two' cases a year would be referred to the High Court.

'Examples would be a grave lapse of clinical standards, extreme violence, sexual assault or indecency ­ the really serious end of misconduct issues.'

The spokesperson said doctors would be told the council's decision two months after the GMC's original ruling.

GMC member and GP Dr Krishna Korlipara said the new body's powers would prompt the GMC to become more explicit in explaining decisions.

He said: 'It's very easy for people outside to think a decision has been overly lenient, but only those involved in the process are privy to the full details of the case.'

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