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Rehabilitation as good as surgery for low back pain

I have been interested to read the correspondence on the heavyhanded approach of the GMC when doctors receive a complaint from a patient. I am yet another victim.

In February, completely out of the blue, I received a long letter from the GMC, plus photocopies of a complainant's letter, various hospital letters and another GP's computer records. The tone of the GMC's letter was hostile and implied I was guilty until proven innocent.

My instant reaction was shock and disbelief that I should receive such a letter from the GMC about someone I had seen five months earlier while doing an out-of-hours centre session.

At no time did the complainant

approach the PCT or their own GP to complain through the local procedure. They went straight to the GMC to complain.

I have put in a robust reply refuting the complaint with the help of my defence body but have been told by the GMC that I will have to wait months for the outcome of their investigation.

Predictably during April I had a phone call from my PCT asking why they could not find me during their routine annual check on the GMC website. I explained the ludicrous reason. Luckily they were very understanding and agreed with me it was a ridiculous situation and I was not de-listed by them. In a similar vein my name was suddenly de-listed by a neighbouring out-of-hours service for whom I do occasional shifts. Again I was reinstated after tediously explaining what was going on.

As I say the complaint has been vigorously defended but the GMC say it won't be resolved for months ­ a ridiculous situation.

The complaints procedure of the GMC is biased in favour of the public and offers no sympathy or understanding of the distress it causes to innocently accused doctors.

As Dr Adrian Hamilton says in his letter (April 30) you must keep highlighting what happens when the GMC gets a complaint from a patient who hasn't bothered to resolve it at a local level first.

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