LMC objections to civil standard of proof proposals

LMCs called on the GPC to ‘vigorously’ oppose the change from a criminal to a civil standard of proof in fitness-to-practise cases.

Ayrshire and Arran GP Dr Hal Maxwell said it was unacceptable to introduce a standard of proof with a sliding scale as set out in the government’s White Paper, ‘Trust, Assurance and Safety — the Regulation of Health Professionals in the 21st Century’.

The proposal for the new standard of proof, which is based on the CMO for England’s review of professional regulation, is to replace the current situation in which the panel must be convinced that the facts are proven beyond any reasonable doubt.

Dr Maxwell said: ‘I’m supposed to be reassured by the sliding scale of proof? I’m either guilty or not guilty. There’s no in-between.’

But Glasgow GP Dr Paul Ryan said the scope of the White Paper made it difficult for the medical profession to push for change.

‘There are about seven or eight professions going for the same standard of proof. We can’t have one burden of proof for doctors and something different for everyone else,’ he said.

Scottish GPC chairman Dr Dean Marshall said that this was not a reason to accept the changes.

‘I’m not bothered about other health professionals. We are in a different situation and the public looks on us differently.’

He said that the BMA opposed the change and described the issue of regulation as ‘critically important’.

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