Erasures stable after proof standard change

Fears that the lower standard of proof would lead to an upsurge in the number of doctors erased or suspended from the medical register have failed to materialise, the GMC has said.

Five months after the new standard of proof came in, there has been no rise in the numbers of doctors suspended or erased, said Paul Philip, director of standards and fitness to practise at the GMC.

'There has been no increase in appeals,' Mr Paul said.

However, Dr Stephanie Bown, policy and communications director at the Medical Protection Society, said that it could be two to three years before any rise is seen. 'At the General Dental Council, where the civil standard was adopted in August 2006 we are now seeing more cases going forward,' she said.

The number of dentists actually erased from the register has fallen since the introduction of the new standard which was accompanied by a much wider range of sanctions available to the dental regulator.

Since June, in every case going before the GMC where the facts are disputed, findings have been assessed on the balance of probabilities after the regulator controversially relinquished the criminal standard that demands proof beyond all reasonable doubt.

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