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Single 'powerful adjudicator' may intervene on proof disputes

The Government is considering handing the final say on fitness-to-practise cases to one hugely powerful individual.

The health and social care bill has unveiled plans to set up the Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator, which will intervene if there is a dispute over hearings under the new civil standard of justice.

The move echoes the appointment of a television adjudicator by Ofcom, the media industry's equivalent to the new health regulator, which saw one super-salaried individual charged with policing TV advertising.

The health and social care bill says the Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator will have between one and three executive members, likely to be an experienced barrister or barristers.

Dr Hugh Stewart, MDU medicolegal adviser, said: ‘We welcome the fact that the process of deciding whether or not a doctor's fitness to practise is impaired will, in future, be independent of the GMC.'

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