GPs in danger of being over-regulated, fears the MDU

The medical profession is in danger of becoming over-regulated if proposals to introduce GMC affiliates, responsible officers and recorded concerns are realised, according to the Medical Defence Union (MDU).

Dr Christopher Evans, MDU chairman, said: ‘Back in 2006 when these changes were first mooted in the CMO's consultation paper we said we did not believe it had been adequately demonstrated that it was necessary or in the public interest to subject doctors to any new burden of regulation.

‘Yet we are still faced with the possible prospect of GMC affiliates, responsible officers and recorded concerns (now being piloted as ‘agreed statements of concern') that have been devised to meet a supposed need that we do not think has been satisfactorily demonstrated to exist.

‘They have the potential, at best, to involve countless hours extra work for very many members and, at worst, to increase members' exposure to yet more regulatory procedures that we believe are unnecessary, for what we fear will be no appreciable improvement in standards of patient care and safety.'

A GMC spokesman said that the proposal on GMC affiliates is currently being piloted in two sites - London and Yorkshire. Once concluded the pilots will be fully evaluated, before any decisions are taken about national roll-out.

She added: ‘The mid-term independent evaluation report produced by KPMG found that far from placing a burden on trusts, the affiliates provide a valuable support and resource to medical directors particularly in discussing potential referrals to the GMC, which has improved the resolution of concerns. The evaluation team found evidence that affiliate involvement in local complaints promotes best practice and resolution of issues relating to individual cases is perceived by many to be more effective as a result of the pilots.'

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