This site is intended for health professionals only

Three-quarters of doctors’ health affected by GMC investigation

Nearly three-quarters of doctors investigated by the GMC believe the process had a damaging impact on their mental and physical health, a new survey has found.

A survey of 180 doctors investigated by the regulator in the past five years, carried out by the Medical Protection Society, revealed that 72% felt the investigation had a detrimental effect on their health, while 28% considered leaving the profession as a result of their experience.

Meanwhile, 47% of the doctors surveyed said they did not receive enough support in looking after their health, and 70% believe the GMC should offer more support to doctors facing an investigation.

Dr Richard Stacey, senior medico-legal adviser at the Medical Protection Society, said the findings of the survey were ‘alarming’.

He added: ‘Although these insights into the impact of GMC investigations on the health of doctors are alarming, they are unfortunately not surprising. The attributes that make a good doctor (for example, being caring, kind and conscientious) can also make them particularly vulnerable if they become the subject of a GMC investigation.

‘A doctor can experience fear when they receive a letter from the GMC informing them that they are the subject of a GMC investigation. The GMC do provide information about their procedures to doctors who become the subject of an investigation; however the correspondence can appear formal and legalistic.’

Earlier in the year, Pulse revealed that GPs will only be removed from the performers list after they have been fully investigated by the regulator, under new proposals devised by the Department of Health.