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GMC launches ‘major reform’ of fitness to practise hearings

By Gareth Iacobucci

The GMC has today launched its consultation on its plans to reform its fitness to practise procedures to create a more proportionate, less costly process for GPs.

The plans are designed to reduce the number of public hearings in cases, and resolve a greater number consensually, in a bid to reduce stress and anxiety on doctors.

If implemented, the plans would see meetings conducted with GPs at the end of the investigation stage in some cases, to encourage them to accept an ‘appropriate outcome’.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC said: ‘We are here to protect patients and that means making sure that only doctors who are fit to practise are allowed to do so. However, it is not our role to punish doctors or even to provide redress to patients – there are other ways to achieve that.

‘Our view is that attending a hearing can be a stressful experience for everyone involved and there is no need to do this if the doctor is willing to accept sanctions that protect patients.

‘These changes would represent a major reform of our procedures and we are keen to ensure that all those with an interest in our work have the opportunity to contribute and respond.’

The GMC’s public consultation on the proposals will run from today until April 11.

Niall Dickson