Gossip 'nightmare' for GP regulation changes

How to convert 'soft' complaints about GPs into 'hard information' is 'my current nightmare', according to the chairwoman of a regulation White Paper implementation group.

Professor Jenny Simpson, who is also chief executive of the British Association of Medical Managers (BAMM) and a former paediatrician, was speaking to a BAMM conference in London last month.

She said the earliest that regulation change would take place would be spring 2008. But she added that there was much work still to do and urged GPs to take part by contributing to a website to be set up.

Professor Simpson explained that there were four main strands to White Paper implementation and she was responsible for tackling concerns locally.

CMO for England Sir Liam Donaldson is responsible for revalidation and the other two areas are tackling concerns nationally and the health of healthcare professionals.

Professor Simpson explained that she had distilled her responsibility into a series of areas including GMC affiliates, responsible officers, the performers' list, raising concerns and managing information, clinical governance and death certification.

She described raising concerns and managing information as her current nightmare.

'The reason why it's giving me nightmares is that it's actually the crux of what I'm trying to struggle with. What is the status of the soft information that everybody knows?'

She talked about the Bristol inquiry, which was set up following the death of 29 babies at the Bristol Royal Infirmary between 1984 and 1995, and how it confirmed suspicions but there had been no way of converting them into meaningful information.

'There just wasn't a way of converting what was known into hard information. If we don't actually address that we will have failed unless we have a mechanism of getting that information and using it effectively,' she added.

'It's also quite wrong to have some sort of malicious gossip stacked up against a doctor who is performing extremely well.'

Professor Simpson gave as an example 'lots' of complaints against psychiatrists by patients with mental health problems because of the very nature of their work. 'We need to come up with a solution that gives us a way of using soft information without damaging innocent doctors,' she said.

Professor Simpson assured the audience that the group looking at the problem was 'very good' and that deliberations would be open.

Later Dr Martin Shelly, chairman of the NHS Clinical Governance Support Team's expert group on assuring the quality of medical appraisal, gave an example of a doctor turning up for work on a Monday morning drunk as an example of 'soft information'.


Comment below and tell us what you think 

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins


Already registered?

Sign in

Just published

GMC sign

Gaps in GMC referral and exam pass rates for ethnic minority doctors falling, says GMC

Gaps in fitness to practise referrals and exam pass rates between doctors from white...

Pharmacy shelves

Menopause prescribing advice updated as HRT shortage continues

The British Menopause Society has recommended alternative options for prescribers...

GP sign

Using IIF cash to top up staff pay risks major gap in practice finances, warn accountants

GP practices could face a major cash shortfall in 2024/25 if they use investment...

Paxlovid – one of the treatments available for COVID-19

GPs could play bigger role in prescribing COVID-19 treatments from end of June

GPs could play a greater role in prescribing COVID-19 treatments to patients at risk...

Physiotherapist works with patient

Is the government right to claim its 26,000 additional roles target has been met?

Prime minister Rishi Sunak claimed last month that the government had met its manifesto...

Statement of fitness for work

GP training: Tips for completing FIT notes

GP trainer Dr Pipin Singh provides advice for trainees on how to complete fit notes,...