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Shipman: GMC would reject fishing expeditions

It would be unfair for the GMC to carry out 'fishing' expeditions to find further evidence against GPs after a single complaint against them, the Shipman Inquiry has been told.

GMC member Dr Krishna Korlipara, a GP in Bolton, rejected repeated suggestions by inquiry chair Dame Janet Smith that the council should be more proactive in seeking evidence from trusts of other complaints.

Dame Janet questioned whether the GMC should look for evidence that might show 'a pattern of similar incidents'.

She added that leaving it up to patients to complain meant the GMC 'put the onus for pursuing the concern of public interest on the complainant'.

But Dr Korlipara said to search for further information ­ except in cases of serious professional misconduct ­ would go against 'the natural law of fairness'. He added: 'People might describe it as fishing for further information.'

The fourth stage of the inquiry is investigating the GMC's procedures and is expected to be severely critical.

Dr Korlipara conceded there needed to be better flows of information between the GMC and locum and out-of-hours agencies.

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