Two thirds of GPs support 'GMC for managers'

REGULATION GP survey finds strong backing for tighter controls on NHS managers, but experts warn of high cost.

Almost two-thirds of GPs want NHS managers to be registered with a GMC-style organisation, a GP survey has found.

The poll, of 219 GPs, found that 62 per cent felt that individual NHS managers needed to be more closely monitored.

Bedfordshire GP Dr John Lockley said it was 'high time' NHS managers were held to account: 'Whereas failing doctors can be brought before the GMC and suspended or struck off, all too often poorly performing, bullying or incompetent NHS managers merely get moved sideways.

'It's not much of a punishment, not much of a deterrent and certainly no incentive to work conscientiously,' he added.

But 38 per cent of respondents did not want to see such an organisation. 'There are no agreed national standards to measure them against,' argued one respondent. Others thought the exercise would be too costly and bureaucratic.

'Not another tier of bureaucracy,' said one GP, adding: 'Who would pay for it?'

Management in the NHS has been in the spotlight after an investigation by GP found at least a fifth of PCTs employ private firms to help write their strategic plans. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN), mean-while, found the NHS spends £350 million a year on management consultants.

The RCN also recently claimed that staff raising concerns about patient safety have been ignored by NHS managers. PCTs are regulated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) but scrutiny of individual managers is left to PCT boards. SHA staff and other senior NHS managers are regulated only by the DoH.

A CQC spokesman said it could not discipline individual managers, but had a duty of care to alert PCTs if serious concerns arose.

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said a GMC-style body to regulate managers was interesting but impractical.

He said: 'The idea is clearly targeted at managers who bully or deceive GPs about what is going on in their area, but the majority behave well. It would be a huge edifice to catch a small number of people.'

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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