Speaking at a fringe event at the Labour conference in Manchester yesterday, Kevin Barron said: ‘The disciplinary procedures can frighten people off reporting what they need to report. That's something we need to look at.’
He said that that colleagues were rarely shocked when doctors ended up before the GMC. ‘No one is surprised that this doctor has made a mistake, because he's been on the edge of making a mistake for years.’
Yet nobody reports it ‘because of the system’, under which doctors can be excluded from practice, damaging their skills and confidence even once they are cleared.
Mr Barron called for NHS bodies to appoint individuals to handle poor practice internally, without the need for a damaging GMC hearing.
He also called for the GMC to take a less punitive approach to fitness-to-practise hearings.
Editors' Blog: Dispatches from a parallel universe
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