Doctor leaders will hold a vote of no confidence in the GMC during the BMA’s annual representative meeting next month.
The union’s representatives will vote on a motion calling for the leadership of the GMC ‘to be dismissed’ and replaced with a team that ‘commands the confidence and support of the medical profession’.
The agenda motion also calls 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.
It says that ‘too many’ Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) fitness-to-practise (FTP) decisions are ‘disproportionate to the error of the doctors mistake’ and calls for representatives to express ‘no confidence’ in the current MPTS.
Other subjects that will be debated during the meeting taking place in Liverpool on 3-5 July are:
- Supporting healthcare professionals who refuse to declare their income after NHS England asked GP to disclose earnings above £156,000;
- Noting the ‘persistent’ crisis and ‘subsequent collapse’ of areas of general practice and mandating the BMA to explore and share similar models of universal healthcare systems in other countries and proposing possible alternatives;
- The possible role of SAS doctors in general practice;
- Asking the Government to pay for student loan repayments due while a doctor is in NHS medical employment;
- Golden handshakes to encourage qualified doctors to work in under-doctored areas to ensure adequate supervision and mentorship to new doctor apprentices
- A commitment to pay restoration for NHS staff in Northern Ireland, including GPs
- The removal of ‘systemic barriers’ for doctors returning to work, involving medical registration, indemnity, and the lack of universal access to a Responsible Officer.
Last year, the BMA’s ARM passed a motion demanding the GMC stops imposing fitness-to-practise sanctions ‘on vulnerable doctors in order to send a message to the wider medical profession’.
According to a medical defence organisation just over 40% of GPs being investigated by the GMC reported suicidal thoughts, and nearly half considered quitting medicine as a result of the process.
Last week, Pulse exclusively revealed the GMC acknowledged that it was wrong to suggest to an MPTS tribunal that a doctor’s apology to a patient was an admission of guilt.
The regulator told Pulse that its ethical guidance ‘is clear that a doctor apologising to a patient does not mean that they are admitting legal liability’ and it will make its legal representatives aware of this ‘for future cases’.
The motions in full
Motion by NORTH EAST REGIONAL COUNCIL: 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 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 of the GMC to be dismissed and replaced with a team that commands the confidence and support of the medical profession.
Motion by NORTH EAST REGIONAL COUNCIL: NHS England confirmed it will ask GPs to declare their income over a pre-defined threshold. The Government have stated that they will look to introduce the same ‘pay transparency’ across other independent contractors in the NHS at the same time. That this meeting:- i) believes this is an arbitrary figure and a baseless request from the UK Government and NHS England which solely seeks to undermine healthcare professionals; ii) reaffirms the legal advice received by the BMA that ‘no practice has a contractual duty to comply with these new rules’; iii) believes such actions from NHS England exacerbates stress and will reduce work undertaken by healthcare professionals; iv) believes that this exposes healthcare professionals to further attacks; v) supports any healthcare professional who refuses to declare their income.
Motion by SOUTH WEST REGIONAL COUNCIL: That this meeting notes the persistent crisis and subsequent collapse of areas of general practice in the UK and mandates the BMA to explore and share similar models of universal healthcare systems in other countries, with the aim of understanding the potential to learn from and implement augmented or alternative systems in the UK.
Motion by LINCOLN DIVISION: That this meeting supports the creation of a Specialty Doctor (SAS) in general practice but has concerns about the potential for discrimination and poor career development for those involved. We call on the BMA to work to ensure that any role or roles created carry the right to career progression, and are positive and viable career choices.
Motion by CORNWALL DIVISION: That this meeting recognises that because of the length of medical training many UK trained doctors have large student loans and may consider leaving the UK for better pay and working conditions. To seek to improve recruitment and retention, we call for any student loan repayments due while a doctor is in NHS medical employment to be paid by the government.
Motion by THE AGENDA COMMITTEE (TO BE PROPOSED BY LINCOLN DIVISION): That this meeting notes the forthcoming pilot for the medical apprenticeship model and:- i) believes medical apprenticeships are a vital experiment in addressing the shortage of doctors in deprived and under-doctored areas and calls on the BMA to engage with supporting the pilots; ii) believes that if medical apprenticeships are to be a tool to address recruitment in under-doctored areas, they must actively recruit from those areas. It therefore calls on the BMA to lobby all relevant bodies for all apprentice programmes to offer a local partners scheme with adjusted entry requirements for local students; iii) believes that access to the following is essential for such students: access to research and leadership opportunities, and welfare and support services; iv) believes standards of assessment should be the same as via traditional medical schools; v) calls on the BMA to lobby the UK governments to introduce golden handshakes to encourage qualified doctors to work in under-doctored areas to ensure adequate supervision and mentorship for such students.
Motion by NORTHERN IRELAND COUNCIL: That this meeting welcomes the commitment from the Welsh Government to full pay restoration for doctors including healthcare workers and calls on the Northern Ireland Assembly (when it gets back to work) to give the same commitment to all in Northern Ireland, including general practitioners.
Motion by SOUTH EAST COAST REGIONAL COUNCIL: That this meeting notes the NHS workforce crisis with increased numbers of early retirements with the loss of their valuable skills, knowledge, and experience, and calls on the BMA to lobby NHS England, Health Education England and the GMC to work together to facilitate returning to work on a flexible basis, for retired doctors and those who have been absent from work for extended periods, for the benefit of patients. On their agenda should be fully funded support, the removal of systemic barriers to returning to work, involving medical registration, indemnity, and the lack of universal access to a Responsible Officer.