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Is the GMC getting it?

Editor’s blog

jaimie kaffash 2 duo 3x2

jaimie kaffash 2 duo 3x2

One thing you have to say for GMC chief executive Charles Massey is he is not wanting for bravery. At a time when the whole GP profession was furious with his organisation for its handling of the Bawa-Garba case, he faced hundreds of GPs at Pulse LIVE – even taking audience questions. This week, we published part one and part two of the interview.

And you know what? He came out of it with his reputation slightly enhanced, and even a smidgen of grudging respect from the audience.

He expressed ‘regret’ at the GMC’s handling of the Bawa-Garba case, and he did seem to genuinely understand the depth of feeling from the profession around the case.

At the same time, he announced reviews into the reasons black and minority ethnic doctors face more complaints than white colleagues, and a review into the mental health of all doctors, not just those facing investigations. And he spoke about how system pressures are ‘exceptional’ right now. All of which are real steps forward.

And yet.

The apology over Bawa-Garba is, most GPs would notice, very much a politician’s apology – ‘we regret the impact’, ‘we should have seen the fallout’. Conspicuously absent is the acknowledgment the GMC was wrong to appeal the decision of its tribunal service, despite outcry from pretty much all interested parties – including the health secretary.

Instead, he maintained that the GMC had taken ‘legal advice’, which said they had to take it to High Court – but wouldn’t elaborate as to why the GMC was legally compelled.

He spoke about taking system pressures into account. Yet there was no recognition that Dr Bawa-Garba was working in conditions that made mistakes likely.

There’s nothing to suggest that the GMC wouldn’t act in the same manner again.

Credit where it is due – it is good to see the GMC acknowledge the problems in general practice, but there’s a long way to go before we can say they truly ‘get’ it.

Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse

Readers' comments (13)

  • As such,and i give way to the panel, has the GMC lost insight?

    (Thanks for running with this Jaimie, and welcome to your new post.)

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  • Vinci Ho

    Whatever happened had happened , we are now only interested in the outcome of the appeal. In fact , that is the next platform for this ‘revolution’ depending on the results.
    The question of whether we should still fund GMC remains. The simple question , for us , is always what would you do if you pay people to do a job and they ‘misbehaved’ as if they are working for somebody else?
    Of course , if they are paid by the government (which I am sure their budget would be tighter ) , one can argue that things would be even more draconian. But is this current situation not worst enough?
    I suppose , on retrospect, this interview would never even happen if his salary was not funded by our fees.....
    One narrative in the public domain I would like to hear is : the government is failing to deliver a safe health service because doctors , old and new , are deserting their jobs due to unfair overegulation .

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  • Referring to an expert opinion from a surgeon on a GP,Sir Ernest Ryder [ President of Appeals ] added: ‘It runs the risk of being a lottery dependent on the professional opinion of the advisor that is chosen. It is unreasonable and irrational and accordingly, unlawful.’
    The same pertains to the expert opinion in Dr BG's case.
    An ICU consultant's opinion of a clinical presentation in a paediatric assessment is equally invalid and as in this case, plainly wrong, as so clearly demonstrated by Dr O'Riordan's actions [ he did nothing], so the conviction based on the expert opinion is also invalid. The GMC keeps harping on about the "Manslaughter ', which to thousands of doctors is plainly incorrect and that is the real problem in this case.
    It is the expert whose opinion is wrong and demonstrably so is the cause of all this mayhem.
    I do hope that Dr BG can get another Paediatrician expert to say so.

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  • There is no 'credit due' Jaime. A 'crapology' from the GMC (or anybody else), is an open insult!

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  • Keep running with this Jaimie but simple answer is 'no'.
    A good Dr has been hing out to dry, ironically not just by systematic failure in the NHS, but also by systematic failure in our regulatory system. Mr Massey is the cheesy self serving embodiment of that regulatory system and what may be construed as bravery is simply just a desparate attempt to save his own skin.

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  • What he doesn't understand is how the law works in relation to ethics. The law itself is just a machine that follows process laid down by statute, tradition and common law decisions that went before. It is perfectly capable of doing horrible things - in living memory it was legally required to persecute gay people for example. The GMC is a perfect example of how an unrestrained bureaucracy can become a dystopian nightmare. Our regulators need to rise above this and gain insight into how complex medicine and the human condition is. It is the GMC's total lack of willingness to engage with the profession and our humanity that is slowly destroying what little respect we have left in this institution.

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  • It is time the GMC role was changed.It appears to be bureaucratic heavy handed incompetent organisation. Its fees are paid by Doctors. it's appology is quite unacceptable. It has done greatest harm to the Doctor Bawa Garwa. She was a junior doctor left on her. Where was her consultant whose responsibility it is to ensure his juniors are well supervised and helped at all times. Why was he not held responsible.

    Dr F.M. Hirji
    Grovehill Medical centre
    HemelHemspstead
    HP2 6AD

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  • Archer

    Is the GMC getting it?
    Yes they are getting our extorted fees
    without any service
    or reassurance to us

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  • Archer

    And he spoke about how system pressures are ‘exceptional’ right now
    yes .. so will the GMC hold organisations to account or simply scapegoat those unfortunate to have no choice but to work in unsafe scenarios

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  • Archer

    At the same time, he announced reviews into the reasons black and minority ethnic doctors face more complaints than white colleagues

    Can he also review why the outcome/judgement (By the GMC) is always worse for BME Doctors compared to others

    Thanks

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