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Warning of 'miscarriages of justice'

The CMO's proposals to overhaul medical regulation will lead to miscarriages of justice and damaging levels of bureaucracy, GPs are warning.

Opposition to Sir Liam Donaldson's plan to change the burden of proof in fitness to practise hearings to 'the balance of probabilities' has been the most vehement.

But knowledge tests, 360-

degree appraisals and the proposed network of GMC 'affiliates' have also provoked a strong negative reaction from GPs.

Dr Tony Grewal, a GP in West Drayton, Middlesex, predicted the first day of revalidation would be 'the first day of retirement for many GPs'. He said: 'As for the knowledge tests, what if you're nervous on the day? What if you've done the wrong bit of reading? Are they just going to tell those GPs to sod off?'

GPC negotiators have refused to comment on the detail of the report, but have vowed to oppose the change from the criminal to the civil standard of proof.

Dr Peter Holden, GPC negotiator, said: 'As far as I'm concerned the balance of proof is crucial. Engineers and pilots deal with the laws of physics.

'When we have something go wrong we have to think about it and bear in mind the fickle concerns of doctors and patients.'

Dr Hamish Meldrum, GPC chair, said Sir Liam's proposals would create high levels of bureaucracy which would take GPs away from patient care.

The BMA said it planned to respond to the consultation 'well in advance' of the November 10 deadline.

How to respond to CMO's report

The RCGP is asking members to respond by 1 September, using its website www.rcgp.org.uk.

To air your views to the GMC, log comments under a podcast by Sir Graeme Catto, at www.doctors.net.uk, post on the forum or e-mail the GMC at gmc@gmc-uk.org. by

6 September.

Closing date for responses to the Department of Health's consultation is 10 November.

Responses addressing three questions on the Department's website can be sent via www.dh.gov.uk/live consultations or by e-mailing HRDlistening@dh.gsi.gov.uk. Alternatively, write to Healthcare Professional Regulation Consultation, Department of Health, Room 2N35A, Quarry House, Quarry Hill, Leeds LS2 7UE.

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