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GMC to launch ‘very serious’ review into complaints against BME doctors

Exclusive The GMC is set to launch a ‘very serious piece of work’ looking into the high level of complaints against black and minority ethnic doctors compared with white doctors.

Charlie Massey, chief executive of the GMC, told delegates at the Pulse Live event that investigative practices within the regulator have been found to be ’absolutely above board’ every time they have be audited.

But he said that there were questions around why BME doctors face more complaints than white colleagues. 

The review will also look at ’the under representation of other doctors that perhaps could be complained about’.

He said: ’What is driving the overrepresentation of BME doctors that have been complained about? And indeed potentially the under representation of other doctors that perhaps could be complained about?’

Mr Massey added that this created ’a double whammy effect’.

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He told delegates the GMC was looking ’to do a very serious piece of work’ that looks at ’the overrepresentation of BME doctors that have been complained about’.

The investigation would look at the ’path of BME doctors through education’ among other factors, he added. 

It comes after the GMC faced huge criticism from the medical profession after going to High Court in order to strike off Nigerian-born paediatrician Dr Hadiza Bawa-Garba, after she had previously been convicted of gross negligent manslaughter.

Mr Massey also said he felt he had ’no choice’ but to take its own medical tribunal to court after it decided to suspend Dr Bawa-Garba, but keep her on the medical list. 

The GMC took legal advice which said ’the tribunal erred in law in the way in which they reached their conclusions’.

Mr Massey told GPs that although he didn’t feel he had a choice in pursuing the case, adding: ’I did so with a heavy heart. I didn’t anticipate the degree of outcry that there has been over this case. I recognise that that is going to take some time to rebuild confidence.’

This comes after GMC chair Professor Terence Stephenson said he is ‘extremely sorry’ for the distress caused to the medical profession after the regulator went to High Court to strike off the junior doctor.