The BMA’s Annual Representative Meeting has passed a no confidence vote for the GMC, and will now call for its leadership’s dismissal.
The motion also said that ‘too many’ Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) fitness-to-practise (FTP) decisions are ‘disproportionate to the error of the doctors mistake’ and expressed no confidence in the current tribunal.
During the meeting taking place in Liverpool today, representatives voted in favour of a motion calling for the leadership team of the GMC to be dismissed and replaced with a team that ‘commands the confidence and support of the medical profession’.
The representatives also called for improved access to mental wellbeing support during regulatory investigations, citing the GMC’s own report on deaths during investigations which found that 29 doctors died while under GMC investigation or monitoring over a three-year period since January 2018.
Proposing the motion, Dr Samuel Parker, from the BMA’s North East regional council, said: ‘There’s a huge personal burden resulting from GMC investigations and MPTS decisions appear disproportionate.
‘The impact of doctors on GMC investigations is harrowing – a recent MPS survey of GPs under GMC investigation found 78% believed it had a detrimental impact to their mental wellbeing. Nearly half contemplated quitting medicine and over 40% felt suicidal.’
He also said that there has been ‘no improvement but a continued decline’ in the ‘unacceptable’ treatment of ‘dedicated’ medical colleagues during GMC investigations.
Dr Parker added: ‘There is no reason why the GMC cannot function communicating with doctors more compassionately.’
The motion passed in all parts.
Earlier this morning, the meeting also voted in favour of a motion which said the BMA should have no confidence in a GMC that ‘invests in corporations associated with increased morbidity and mortality’ and demanded a complete cessation of GMC ‘investments in fast-food and soft drink companies’.
A GMC spokesperson said: ‘We are committed to delivering effective, relevant and compassionate regulation. We have a significant programme of work underway, which we are delivering in advance of the much needed reform to the legislation that we must work to.
‘We have carried out a range of work to reduce the impact and stress on doctors who are under investigation, as we know that complaints can be distressing for them, patients and their families.
‘We are absolutely focused on our work to target inequalities and promote equality, diversity and inclusion – both in our own processes, and across the UK health system. We recently carried out a regulatory fairness review, which assessed how effectively we look for the risk of bias in our own systems. We are already implementing many of the review’s recommendations, and we have made firm commitments to act on the others. We also continue to work hard to eradicate the disproportionate referral of black and minority ethnic doctors from employers.
‘We continue to use our data and insight about doctors’ experiences in the workplace to highlight the immediate and longer-term challenges the profession and the health system face, and are committed to playing our part in tackling them.’
The spokesperson also argued that the BMA’s motion lacked context.
‘Last year we published data which showed that sadly 29 doctors died while under GMC investigation or monitoring over the three-year period 1 January 2018–31 December 2020. The cause of death of 20 were from natural causes; six were of external causes, of which five were confirmed as suicide; and three were from unspecified reasons.’
The motion in full:
A 2022 GMC investigation on ‘deaths during investigations’ reports that tragically 29 doctors died while under GMC investigation or monitoring over the three-year period 1 January 2018 – 31 December 2020. Furthermore, too many Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) Fitness To Practice (FTP) decisions are disproportionate to the error of the doctors mistake.
That this meeting:- i) believes that healthcare professionals must have improved access to mental wellbeing support during regulatory investigations;
ii) has no confidence in the current MPTS;
iii) calls for the leadership team of the MPTS to be dismissed and replaced with a team that commands the confidence and support of the medical profession;
iv) has no confidence in the current GMC;
v) calls for the leadership team of the GMC to be dismissed and replaced with a team that commands the confidence and support of the medical profession.