Doctors under GMC investigation 'face 13 times higher suicide risk', LMCs hear

LMCs have warned the GMC is creating a 'climate where doctors practise in fear for their registration' after hearing evidence that doctors under investigation by the regulator face a suicide risk 13 times higher than the general UK population.

Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer: Doctors under GMC investigation face suicide risk (Photo: JH Lancy)
Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer: Doctors under GMC investigation face suicide risk (Photo: JH Lancy)

Speaking at the 2015 LMCs conference, the GPC’s Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer said that the GMC investigation process ‘ignored basic human rights’, and forced many doctors to endure investigations that lasted for up to five years.

Dr John Ip, from Glasgow LMC, reiterated the warning he gave earlier in the year at the Scottish LMC conference that the GMC was forcing GPs to ‘practise in fear for their registration’, and that it operated under the presumption that doctors were ‘guilty until proven innocent’.

‘We need to send a message out to our regulator that a change is needed, and needed now,’ he said.

GMC must support doctors

Dr Emmanuel Owoso said: ‘We know that the GMC has are there to protect patients, but at the same time, they have responsibility to protect and support doctors. The current situation is not just unkind, it’s unfair and so it’s unacceptable.’

GP representatives backed a motion warning that the GMC creates a climate where doctors practise in fear, that doctors should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise, and that the regulator should implement findings of an independent report on doctor suicides.

Delegates at the conference applauded after all aspects of the motion were voted for unanimously.

Responding to a similar debate at the Scottish LMCs conference, GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: 'We have in place a comprehensive set of reforms to speed up our processes, reduce the stress of our investigations, and better support doctors who have their fitness to practise called into question.

‘These include reviewing the tone of our communications with doctors to make them clearer, simpler, and more sensitive.'

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