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GMC to start FTP processes via initial phone contact with doctor to ‘reduce anxiety’

GMC to start FTP processes via initial phone contact with doctor to ‘reduce anxiety’

The GMC will ‘make initial contact with a doctor by phone’ when they start fitness-to-practise (FTP) proceedings, in a bid to ‘reduce anxiety’.

The regulator said this new process comes as part of ‘a series of improvements’ by the GMC to ‘take a more compassionate approach’ and ‘reduce the impact’ of investigations’.

It follows a pilot carried out earlier this year which found doctors ‘felt more supported’ when initial phone calls were made about FTP proceedings and the move has had positive feedback from medical defence organisations, the GMC said.

The phone call will see a GMC professional introducing themselves as the doctor’s contact, explaining what the immediate next steps will be and signposting them to relevant support services.

This will then be ‘immediately’ followed up via written correspondence.

During the call ‘a bespoke communication plan’ is created for the doctor ‘factoring in their communication preferences’ and ‘assessing whether they may be vulnerable’, the GMC said.

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GMC chair Dame Carrie MacEwen said: ‘Reducing the impact of our investigations on doctors is of the utmost importance to us. The vast majority of GMC investigations conclude without action, but we know that the impact of receiving a complaint can be great for doctors.

‘The personal and compassionate approach of having a contact who can explain the investigation process over the phone and be a port of call for any queries has been favoured by doctors and support organisations alike.’

Medical Protection Society lead legal adviser Kashif Mahmood said: ‘This commitment from the GMC is welcome and could not come at a more pertinent time. A recent MPS survey of doctors who have been subject to a GMC investigation found that almost three in four – 71 percent – say their mental health was impacted by “the initial, unexpected notification of the investigation”.

‘This was reported more than any other single factor as having an impact on mental health, so it is welcome news that a more personalised approach will be taken when initially contacting doctors about an investigation.’

He added that doctors ‘understandably can feel very vulnerable when contacted out of the blue by their regulator’ but that it ‘is important to note that when a healthcare professional is initially contacted by the GMC, this will often be an interim measure in response to a concern, not a proven fact’.

‘For these reasons MPS recently called on the GMC to provide additional support to healthcare professionals upon initial contact.’

GMC is among regulators who have said they will take into account winter pressures when investigating complaints against doctors relating to their practise during the ‘difficult time’ that will be the coming months.


          

READERS' COMMENTS [8]

Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

Kevlar Cardie 16 December, 2022 11:59 am

A nicer, gentler, kinder Gestapo.

Coolio.

The Prime Minister 16 December, 2022 12:43 pm

ARE THE GMC ALSO GOING TO RESPOND TO VEXATIOUS COMPLAINANTS BY WARNING THEM OF LEGAL ACTION AGAINST THEM ?? INSTEAD OF APOLOGISING TO THEM IF SAY THE PATIENT IS AGGRIEVED BY THE ETHNICITY OR APPEARANCE OF THE GP OR FOR SOME OTHER ABSURD AND SPURIOUS REASON………..IN SOME COUNTRIES DOCTORS ARE TERRORISED FOR POLITICAL REASONS BY A POWER CRAZED REGIME THAT MISUSES ITS AUTHORITY……………………….AND THEN THERE ARE COUNTRIES OUTSIDE THE UK……

Iain Chalmers 16 December, 2022 3:15 pm

I doubt a cheery telephone call will positively improve that 71% figure.

System needs fundamental reform/rethink, remains combativly adversarial.

No right to forget either.

Don’t murderer get new identity on release??

Patrufini Duffy 16 December, 2022 3:39 pm

Wow – they realised in 2022-2023 what a phone is? They thought that a human notification of a letter coming your way is something of a soft blow to the anxiety? The institutes are scrambling at chaos and using psychological manipulation to re-write their story. It won’t be rewritten. Never. The GMC will never rewrite their blood laden history book. You can’t change this inert brick wall. You can’t change fixed protective ideologies and salary-preserving narcissism. You cannot change their association with the law industry and everyone getting paid for a no win no fee. This is a mere smoke screen – to say “something” is being done. But is nothing more than the warning shot of a perverse equation set against you. In one century in the future, they will have no one to call, but receive the public’s woes and ailments themselves in it’s whole ugly myriad of forms with their mixed incentives, agendas and games. That will be true comedy.

Truth Finder 19 December, 2022 1:12 pm

Shows the GMC refuses to change. It is unfit for purpose. BMA, act! We need a new organization.

James Weems 19 December, 2022 7:14 pm

“The phone call will see a GMC professional introducing themselves as the doctor’s contact, explaining what the immediate next steps will be and signposting them to relevant support services.”

You mean to say they didn’t do this already!?
That’s pretty awful tbh.

Kevlar Cardie 20 December, 2022 2:01 pm

My most recent comment has been taken down.

I would like to apologise

I in no way meant to harm the reputations of the noble callings of sex workers, money traffickers, drug dealers, organised criminals and the current occupants of the London Zoo Reptile house by perhaps drawing a too close comparison to Conservative Party MPs.

Just Your Average Joe 22 December, 2022 5:55 pm

GMC have not been fit for purpose for years – political tool for scapegoating doctors for failures of investment in NHS care.

They are paranoid of public opinion and scrutiny since Shipman, and every decision is designed to penalise doctors and a guilty until proven innocent model is currently in place, against all lawful recourse, in the name of patient safety.

GMC no longer regulates doctors, instead it persecutes the innocent, in the game of trying to uncover bad eggs.

Yes there are bad doctors, and those are few and treating the many with the same big stick and glare of suspicion will only drive many more to bad outcomes.

We need a new Doctor led self regulatory body – without the political boot lickers and appointed heads with preset agendas.