A petition calling for the GMC to become funded by taxpayers rather than through annual fees from doctors has already received over 24,000 signitures in less than a month.
The petition, which was launched at the beginning of February, says the call followed ‘the recent events in relation to the GMC and overturning the MPTS decision’ not to strike off a junior doctor from the medical register after the death of a six-year-old boy.
Mohammed Arif Moothadeth, a consultant in occupational medicine in Newcastle, who opened the petition, said that following the Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba case ‘a significant proportion of doctors are finding it increasingly difficult to justify paying annual retention fees to an organisation whose primary remit is to protect patients’.
He added: ‘Therefore the tax-paying public, and not doctors, have to take responsibility for funding the GMC; similar to the Health and Safety Executive, which is not funded by organisations/employers yet are independent and have enforcement powers.’
The petition comes after the GMC won a High Court bid to strike off Dr Bawa-Garba from the medical register, overruling a decision by the MPTS to suspend her after she was convicted of gross negligence manslaughter.
GPs responded to the case by saying that trust in the GMC has been ‘fundamentally’ undermined, while others called for an investigation into the GMC ‘to examine if it is fit for purpose’.
The GMC has come under fire from its own regulator, the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), for the handling of Dr Bawa-Garba’s case.
In its response, the Department of Health and Social Care did not back the petition, instead saying: ‘It is right that the cost of regulation is met by those professionals who are regulated.’