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BMA calls on GMC to publish review into suicides of doctors facing investigation

The BMA’s annual representatives meeting has voted in favour of a motion calling for the GMC to publish the results of its internal review of suicide in doctors facing a GMC investigation.

The vote comes after the GMC launched an internal review last year of cases where doctors have committed suicide while under a fitness to practise investigation, in an effort to see if it can do more to support vulnerable doctors.

The motion – which was passed with an overwhelming majority – called for the GMC to publish both its review into suicides among doctors facing investigation, and the outcome of the GMC/BMA pilot supporting doctors facing investigation.

It also said the BMA should be offering consistent support to doctors facing GMC investigation.

Speaking in favour of the motion, Professor David Katz, a medical academic, said: ‘The very least that we can expect of the GMC is to live up to their own standards by publishing the outcome of their own review and supporting the programme properly. It’s very difficult for us as doctors and for the BMA to identify exactly what the kind of support is needed by the colleague. We need some evidence from within the GMC… as to exactly how we can support them better.’

‘Do we need to provide them with legal support? Do we need to provide them with better information with about the way that they’ve ensured themselves against malpractice? Or do we need to provide human support and mentoring about the course of the process? We don’t know, and we don’t know because the GMC refuses to give us the necessary information.’

Dr Mark Porter, chair of BMA Council, said: ‘Assuming you pass this, I will be asking for a report on exactly what we need to do and what further members’ resources we need to apply to give a better and more consistent service and support to our members who find themselves with such problems.’

Motion in full

That this Meeting, in the light of the reported deaths of doctors while under GMC investigation, requires:

i. that the GMC publish the results of its internal review of suicide in doctors facing GMC investigation

ii. that the outcome of the GMC-BMA pilot of support for doctors facing investigation be published

iii. that the BMA should offer more consistent support to doctors facing GMC investigations.