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As more GPs face the GMC, the council wants to be accountable to MPs

By Daile Pepper

The president of the GMC has made a plea that it be held accountable for its actions by MPs.

The call came during a fringe meeting at the Labour Party conference where Sir Graeme Catto faced an onslaught of criticism.

Consumer groups accused him of running a ‘cosy club' for doctors while clinicians complained their interests came second to patient complaints.

Sir Graeme suggested Parliament was best placed to oversee the GMC because of its public accountability.

‘It is all very well being a statutory authority but it would be much better if we were held accountable to some other body,' he said.

He added: ‘We would seek to be accountable to and by Parliament.'

Kevin Barron, a Labour MP, chair of the cross-party health select committee and a GMC lay member, was in the audience. He said he was in favour of the idea and would raise it in the House.

‘The only way things come to light [at the moment] is through the media and constituents writing in,' he said.

A Department of Health spokesman said the idea was being considered as part of the Chief Medical Officer's review into medical regulation.

During the fringe meeting Ed Mayo, chief executive of the National Consumer Council, said patients did not want the GMC to balance doctors' and patients' interests. ‘We want you to put patient safety first,' he said.

Health minister Rosie Winterton said the GMC was perceived as for doctors and against patients. ‘We can empower patients by assisting them in making complaints,' she said.

Dr Kelvin Gill, a GP from Wigan who said the publication of conditions on his registration on the GMC's website was ‘a last straw', welcomed more accountability but suggested Sir Graeme made his plea before the situation was forced on him anyway.

‘There is a perception within the profession that the GMC

is neither protecting patients nor guiding doctors,' said Dr Gill.

Angered by GMC hearing

‘The thing hangs over you like a black cloud and colours everything that you do. I stopped all social life, I couldn't sleep. Even though

I was exonerated, it was difficult not to be eaten up by anger.'

GP cleared by GMC. Source: MDU

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