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One thing you have to say for GMC chief executive Charles Massey is he is not wanting for bravery. At a time when the whole GP profession was furious with his organisation for its handling of the Bawa-Garba case, he faced hundreds of GPs at Pulse LIVE – even taking audience questions. This week, we published part one and part two of the interview.
And you know what? He came out of it with his reputation slightly enhanced, and even a smidgen of grudging respect from the audience.
At the same time, he announced reviews into the reasons black and minority ethnic doctors face more complaints than white colleagues, and a review into the mental health of all doctors, not just those facing investigations. And he spoke about how system pressures are ‘exceptional’ right now. All of which are real steps forward.
The apology over Bawa-Garba is, most GPs would notice, very much a politician’s apology – ‘we regret the impact’, ‘we should have seen the fallout’. Conspicuously absent is the acknowledgment the GMC was wrong to appeal the decision of its tribunal service, despite outcry from pretty much all interested parties – including the health secretary.
Instead, he maintained that the GMC had taken ‘legal advice’, which said they had to take it to High Court – but wouldn’t elaborate as to why the GMC was legally compelled.
He spoke about taking system pressures into account. Yet there was no recognition that Dr Bawa-Garba was working in conditions that made mistakes likely.
There’s nothing to suggest that the GMC wouldn’t act in the same manner again.
Credit where it is due – it is good to see the GMC acknowledge the problems in general practice, but there’s a long way to go before we can say they truly ‘get’ it.
Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse