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Petition launched on GP ‘gagging’ clauses

An e-petition to ban gagging orders on GPs in their CCG constitutions has attracted 50 signatures in its first few weeks.

The petition - which could trigger a debate in the House of Commons - was launched following a Pulse story that revealed that hundreds of GP practices are being blocked from voicing concerns over NHS care in their area under their CCG constitutions.

This is despite Government declarations that ‘gagging’ clauses are now unacceptable in the health service after the Francis Inquiry.

Legal agreements covering more than 200 practices from 1 April include clauses that prevent GP members from speaking about the CCG’s work without prior approval from the board.

The GPC said the clauses were ‘inappropriate’ and were inconsistent with the legal ‘duty of candour’ placed on health professionals after the publication of the Francis Inquiry into failures of care at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust.

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC deputy chair told Pulse: ‘The Government´s response to this issue has been willfully unhelpful.

‘Petitions are often ignored by politicians but it´s vitally important that they Government does take this seriously. They have a duty to ensure that post-Francis, doctors should be able to raise issues that concern them freely.’

The e-petition will be open for a year from April 8. It will need to collect 100,000 signatures to trigger a possible debate in the House of Commons.