Fitness-to-practise reform may be costly and ineffective, MDU warns

Proposals for the reform of doctors' fitness-to-practise tribunals do not go far enough and may prove costly, the Medical Defence Union (MDU) has warned.

Dr Mike Devlin: the proposals could be unnecessarily costly
Dr Mike Devlin: the proposals could be unnecessarily costly

The MDU believes any new tribunal set up to deal with fitness-to-practise cases should be genuinely independent.

But the government’s preferred option, from a number of proposals, is for the GMC to remain in control, but to set up a separate disciplinary tribunal.

The DoH is currently consulting on how fitness-to-practise adjudication can be conducted more efficiently.

Dr Mike Devlin, head of advisory services at the MDU, said the proposals could be unnecessarily costly. ‘While we support the motivation for the suggestion that the GMC could set up a separate disciplinary tribunal, we do not see that such a body, which would remain under the auspices of the GMC, will ever be sufficiently independent. 

‘We are also concerned that attempts to try to make it independent will be more costly than the current system, with doctors having to bear these additional costs,’ he said.

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