As a part of the General Medical Council’s fitness to practice reforms, they have started two new pilot schemes which are aimed at improving the way complaints against doctors are dealt with. The pilot will run for approximately nine months and this will be followed by an independent evaluation to assess its effectiveness.
The first pilot scheme will involve the GMC meeting will doctors at the end of an investigation to discuss a possible sanction. It is hoped that this will avoid the need for a final fitness to practice hearing and hopefully quicken the whole process. If a sanction is agreed at that stage, the usual publication of the decision will be made on the GMC’s website and the doctor’s entry on the medical register.
This pilot will only be used in less serious cases where the possibility of an erasure or even a suspension at a final hearing is unlikely.
The second pilot scheme will involve the GMC carrying out meetings with those who make a complaint about a doctor. It is hoped that this will ensure that the GMC fully understand the complaint and the investigation process.
The Chief Executive of the GMC, Niall Dickson, said: “We want to reduce the number of hearings and the associated stress on patients and doctors alike. But there will be no cosy deals – the sanctions we propose must protect patients and it is important too that we continue to be open about what we are doing and publish any action we take against a doctor.”
By Laura Hannah