The GMC’s chief executive has said that he ‘completely understands’ concerns that the suspension of a GP for ‘dishonesty’ over a laptop was ‘disproportionate and over-the-top’.
Speaking at the NHS Confed Expo conference in Liverpool today, Charlie Massey also said that he hopes regulatory reform will cause regulators to think about what are ‘reasonable’ outcomes.
He made the comments in response to Pulse questioning about why the GMC decided to review the case and what he hoped the conclusion of that review will be.
Mr Massey said: ‘It’s obviously a live legal case so I can’t quite go into all of the details.
‘But I did commission a review on the back of that case because on the face of it, this looks like a decision that people might suggest is disproportionate and over the top and I completely understand that.’
He added that ‘none of us have all of the definitive facts of the case’ and that he wants to handle the review ‘fairly hastily’.
However, he did not respond to the Pulse question about whether he would like to see the controversial decision overturned.
Mr Massey added: ‘The review, I hope, will tell us about things we can learn. As regulators, we always need to show some humility and not be complacent about where there’s learning.
‘And that would involve things like what happened when the referral was made? How did we engage with the referrer about all of the allegations that were made about the doctor? How do we decide what cases to take to the tribunal? How did that process work?’
The review will give the GMC ‘some lessons in the short term, which I hope we can apply very quickly’, he told delegates.
Mr Massey reiterated that regulatory reform will make GMC processes ‘much less legally adversarial’ in future, and added that his ‘hope would be that that would allow [the GMC] to resolve things more quickly’.
He said: ‘Regulatory reform will allow us to resolve more cases without going through that [adversarial process], which I think will be quite interesting because it will cause regulators to think about what is a reasonable outcome when we look at the totality of the issues that are in front of us.’
Last month, it was revealed that the GP suspended for ‘dishonesty’ over a laptop she said she had been ‘promised’ will appeal the GMC’s decision, alongside the GMC’s own review.
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) had suspended Dr Manjula Arora for a month for ‘dishonesty’ after she told an IT department she had been ‘promised’ a laptop.
The tribunal said that she had ‘exaggerated’ these claims, and as a result found that her fitness to practise was impaired.
However, doctors groups had reacted angrily to the judgement, saying that a suspension was disproportionate for a relatively minor offence, with the BMA demanding an overhaul of GMC processes after the ‘incomprehensible’ ruling.