CMO revises standard of proof plans

The CMO for England, Sir Liam Donaldson, has backed a sliding scale of proof in fitness-to-practise cases, following a campaign by GPs.

Arguments have raged since the CMO’s review of regulation suggested in July that the standard of proof should be lowered from a criminal standard of proof, beyond reasonable doubt, to a balance of probabilities.

But speaking at a King’s Fund event in London this week, Sir Liam suggested that minor judgments would be based on probability and only the most serious judged by criminal standards.

‘If you go with the civil standard you would have to have a sliding scale of proof,’ he told delegates.

The GMC was to debate the sliding scale this week.

GPC chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum welcomed the climbdown, saying that a sliding scale already existed to some degree.

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