GPs face five-figure remediation bills

GPs could be forced to pay five-figure sums for their own remediation if problems are identified during revalidation, the GPC has warned.

Professor Steve Field: In England, there is an inconsistency over how much of a doctor's remediation costs are funded by the deanery, the doctor, or the PCT
Professor Steve Field: In England, there is an inconsistency over how much of a doctor's remediation costs are funded by the deanery, the doctor, or the PCT

Some deaneries are proposing that GPs pay part or all of their remediation expenses, which the GPC says will mean some will leave the profession.

Revalidation is expected to raise the number of GPs needing remediation. But GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said that the numbers likely to fail will only become clear once the final details of the system to be adopted in the UK are revealed.

He said the DoH should fund remediation: 'Having been trained by the state, struggling doctors should be supported by the state.'

RCGP chairman Professor Steve Field said remediation in England was currently 'unsatisfactory' and this would be a greater concern once revalidation began.

'In England, there is an inconsistency over how much of a doctor's remediation costs are funded by the deanery, the doctor or their PCT,' said Professor Field.

Smaller UK countries like Scotland and Northern Ireland have clearer definitions, and remediation in Wales is mostly funded by deaneries, he added.

'We need negotiations to understand and define who the employer is and how much responsibility comes from the practice or the PCT,' he said.

Dr Buckman warned that remediation could range from a relatively inexpensive course to a doctor being taken out of practice for two years, with costs running into five figures. The prospect of such a bill could cause many GPs, especially those approaching retirement, to quit, he said.

A DoH spokesman said a steering group was being set up to establish policy on remediation, and 'the BMA and RCGP will be invited to join'.

Dr Malcolm Lewis, chairman of the Committee of General Practice Education Directors, said most deaneries had never received enough money to support GP remediation. Primary care organisations often have to decide whether their budget can stretch to cover it, he said.

'It will be difficult for the four health departments to come up with an overarching answer, due to the current trend for local solutions,' he added.

Plans for GPs to pay for remediation would bring them in line with other professions.

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