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GMC sets aside additional £5m to cover increase in fitness to practise cases

The GMC has set aside an additional £4.9m this year to fund a predicted increase in the number of doctors whose fitness to practise is under investigation, Pulse has learnt.

In their annual budget for 2013, the GMC said they expect fitness to practise costs to increase by about £4.7m in 2013 compared with 2012. It also predicts an increase in costs for the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) of £0.2m.

They said this is largely down to a rise in the numbers of fitness to practise cases being referred to the GMC, stemming from rising numbers of complaints against doctors.

In the GMC’s latest council meeting minutes they said there was a 16% increase in the number of stream 1 cases - which would require the GMC to remove or restrict the doctor’s right to practise- between 2011 and 2012. A GMC spokesperson confirmed the organisation expected a similar rise this year.

The annual budget said: ‘We expect fitness to practise costs to increase by about £4.7m in 2013 compared to the 2012 budget’

They clarified that £2.3m would be spent on the recruiting additional staff, expert reports and health and performance assessments to deal with the anticipated increase in fitness to practise caseload this year.

An underspend in 2012 and efficiency savings mean the MPTS budget will increase by just £0.2m in 2013, but the GMC predicted costs for the service that runs fitness to practise and interim orders panel hearings would rise by £0.8m this year, due to an increase in fitness to practise complaints.

Niall Dickson chief executive of the GMC said: ‘We need to respond to the rising number of complaints about doctors - a pattern seen across healthcare.

‘We are also rolling out a number of reforms including piloting new processes in our fitness to practise work, such as meeting with doctors and complainants during an investigation to deliver a more effective system.

‘We believe these proposed changes could deliver a quicker and less stressful system for dealing with complaints which continues to put the safety of patients first.’

Dr Richard Vautrey, a GPC negotiator, said the rise in complaints did not mean more doctors are incompetent. He said: ‘There are complex reasons as to why more complaints are coming through. Some PCTs have been referring larger number of doctors to the GMC before they close down.’

‘We would hope the GMC is able to screen out inappropriate referrals so that the doctor can rest assured they are fit to practise.’

Pulse Live: 30 April - 1 May, Birmingham

Pulse Live

Put your questions on how to avoid a career-ending complaint to our panel of experts at Pulse Live, Pulse’s new two-day annual conference for GPs, practice managers and primary care managers.

Pulse Live offers practical advice on key clinical and practice business topics, as well as an opportunity to debate the future of the profession, and a top range of speakers includes NICE chair designate Professor David Haslam, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey and the Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell MP, chair of the House of Commons health committee.

To find out more and book your place, please click here.

Readers' comments (6)

  • Guess who's footing the bill.
    No taxation without representation-and the GMC is now doctor-lite.

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  • I don't see why we should pay for this ourselves - it should be publicly funded (there is reduced doctor involvement) and indeed the public find the self-funded nature of this suspicious. If anything, it would INCREASE trust if the funding for this was independent from us.

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  • Please do not stop paying them. They are going to need all the money they can get. ;-)))

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  • Reform of the GMC funding system is long overdue. There is no justification for levying a subsription simply for the privilege of potentially loosing your career. This is illogical. In reality dealing with complaints is an adversarial system and as such should be dealt with by the law courts.

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  • I agree that the privilage to be subscribed to an adversarial system is like 'turkeys paying for christmas'. Why are we doctors paying 90 million pounds every year which is filling up so many gravy trains?

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  • Sudheer Surapaneni

    Many doctors have to defend themselves after let down by the Defence bodies. In one meeting, where I asked the reason why the defence bodies are routinely rejecting support for the doctors in GMC hearings, the medicolegal adviser from the defence body said :-we have to do it for saving money of the organisation when doctors have criminal issues. another organisation refuses help for 'personal misconduct' in employer matters. One org refuses help when the complaint on the doctor comes from another doctor!!! So all have their own small prints, and finally the doctors are falling between the stools. in some cases upto forty percent of doctors have no legal help. GMC is not interested in funding these people's expenses even though the GMC genorously pays everyone working for them , half of the doctors subscription £45 million is pocketed by the legal industry. What a good deal for doctors.

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