Meldrum opposes switch to civil standard of proof for fitness-to-practise cases

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum has spelt out opposition to a plan for fitness-to-practise cases to be decided on the balance of probabilities rather than the criminal standard.

Dr Meldrum was responding to the regulation aspects of the Health and Social Care Bill outlined by prime minister Gordon Brown yesterday.

Dr Meldrum said: 'The BMA's members have made it very clear that they are against using a balance of probabilities – the civil standard of proof – to take away a doctor's livelihood.

'Nothing less than the criminal standard of proof – beyond reasonable doubt – is acceptable.

'This does not jeopardise patient safety but maintains a system in which both the public and the profession can have confidence that fairness and justice will be delivered.'

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