GMC may keep adjudication role under DoH plan

A key plank of reforms to the GMC prompted by the Shipman inquiry could be scrapped, the DoH has revealed. The department wants to cut NHS costs by reversing plans set out under the previous administration to transfer part of the GMC's functions to the Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator (OHPA).

The DoH would prefer a modernised GMC to retain adjudication role (Photograph: Jason Heath Lancy)
The DoH would prefer a modernised GMC to retain adjudication role (Photograph: Jason Heath Lancy)

Under plans initiated by the Labour government, the GMC was to retain its role in investigating and prosecuting fitness-to-practise cases, but the OHPA was to be handed the final say on any sanctions against a doctor.

In the fifth report on the Shipman inquiry, Lady Justice Smith recommended that adjudication should be handled separately from the GMC.

But 'fundamental' changes at the GMC have convinced the DoH that these plans are no longer necessary.

The DoH's preferred option, set out last week in a consultation on fitness-to-practise adjudication, is to 'repeal legislative provision relating to OHPA and, in separate legislation, take forward steps to enhance independence of adjudication and modernise existing processes at the GMC (and subsequently review whether to also do so for other health regulators).'

GMC chief executive Niall Dickson backed the plans as a 'sensible way forward'.

'The GMC is committed to the concept of independent adjudication and to building on the reforms that we have already implemented,' he said.

'We have also been working closely with OHPA on a range of further changes, which we would want to take forward to develop a more cost-effective model for adjudication. We will continue to work closely with the DoH throughout this process.'

GPC negotiator Dr Chaand Nagpaul said: 'Given the financial pressures on the NHS it was always likely there would be pressure to reduce administrative tiers. What matters above all else is to have a system that is fair to doctors and that gives them confidence, but is also fair to patients.'

Dr Nagpaul added that there was 'no doubt that the GMC has evolved and is not the same organisation it was 10 years ago'.

The consultation runs until 11 October

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in