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GMC stops offering non-evidenced private screening to staff

The GMC will no longer offer private, non-evidenced health screenings to staff members, the regulator has confirmed.

The decision came into effect in August this year after the GMC decided that the screenings were not providing any additional benefits.

However, an optional private insurance scheme is still available to all permanent employees.

The GMC previously offered different health screenings depending on age. Those under 40 years were offered screenings every three years, including blood pressure tests, BMI calculation, diabetes testing, breast and testicular examination.

Employees between 40-49 years were offered similar screenings every two years, with the addition of a mammography, a personalised medical report and recommendations, and a kidney function test.

Staff over 50 years were offered the same screenings once a year, as well as a prostate cancer and liver function tests.

A GMC spokesperson said: ‘We have taken the decision not to renew our contracts for private health screenings for GMC staff.

‘We asked the BMJ Technology Assessment Group (BMJ-TAG) to carry out an evidence review of our current arrangements.

‘Their recommendation was that there is no evidence of additional benefit to the screening on offer beyond that which is already freely available on the NHS.

‘We will continue to support the wellbeing of our staff and are re-directing our current expenditure to a broader range of occupational health services that will support all staff.’

Approving of the decision to discontinue these tests, RCGP fellow and Glasgow GP, Dr Margaret McCartney called the GMC’s previous policy ‘ridiculous’ and unfair on doctors.

Dr McCartney said: ’It was me that had raised this with the GMC several years ago and had continued to email them and ask why they still did this, as a result they asked for a review, and as a result they stopped the screening.

‘It’s not evidence based and it’s ridiculous that UK doctors had to pay for this.

‘However, the GMC are still offering private health insurance which many people object to.

‘It is a dreadful situation that in order to practice in the UK, doctors have to pay for their regulator to give their employees private health care.’