Health Select Committee chairman calls for GMC to be 'less punitive'

The punitive nature of fitness-to-practise hearings could be making it more likely bad doctors are going unchecked, the chair of the Health Select Committee has warned.

Speaking at a fringe event at the Labour conference in Manchester yesterday, Kevin Barron said: ‘The disciplinary procedures can frighten people off reporting what they need to report. That's something we need to look at.’

He said that that colleagues were rarely shocked when doctors ended up before the GMC. ‘No one is surprised that this doctor has made a mistake, because he's been on the edge of making a mistake for years.’

Yet nobody reports it ‘because of the system’, under which doctors can be excluded from practice, damaging their skills and confidence even once they are cleared.

Mr Barron called for NHS bodies to appoint individuals to handle poor practice internally, without the need for a damaging GMC hearing.

He also called for the GMC to take a less punitive approach to fitness-to-practise hearings.

Editors' Blog: Dispatches from a parallel universe

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