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GMC targets doctors’ private lives

The GMC is pushing ahead with a consultation on controversial plans to regulate doctors’ private lives – despite its own poll showing overwhelming opposition to the move.

An initial online survey of more than 1,000 patients and doctors found 94% did not support GMC regulation of doctors’ lives outside medicine, with one doctor pleading for the regulator to ‘let us be real people’.

But despite the views of what it conceded was the ‘vast majority’, the GMC said in a consultation paper published this week it remained of the view it should have the right to take action in certain cases. ‘We think that if doctors’ conduct undermines trust in the profession it should, in some cases, lead to action on their right to practise medicine,’ the paper said.

One doctor who responded said: ‘The public realise that doctors are also human beings who enjoy life outside of work as much as anyone else – let us be real people, it will make us better doctors.’

Draft Good Medical Practice guidance also retains a controversial duty to help patients back to work, although with an added alternative of ‘other purposeful activity’.