Number of complaints investigated by GMC falls by 18%

The number of complaints the GMC investigated fell by 18% during 2015, with GPs less likely than other doctors to be investigated despite receiving more complaints.

The GMC's annual State of Medical Education and Practice report shows that one in 20 (5%) GPs were complained about in 2015, slightly more than the average for all doctors at 3%.

However, GPs have the lowest proportion of complaints investigated, coming in at just over a quarter (27%) resulting in GMC action. For doctors overall, 32% of complaints were investigated.

The GMC said the fall in the number of investigations was a result of the council overhauling its initial triaging process, which it said enabled it to more accurately judge which inquiries merited a full investigation.

Three quarters (76%) of complaints made against GPs came from members of the public, compared to two thirds (66%) of complaints against specialists who were twice as likely as GPs to be flagged up by other doctors.

Outcomes of investigations remained at a similar level to previous years, with 69% closed with no further action, 14% closed with advice given to the doctor, 5% leading to official warnings, 6% resulting in conditions or undertakings and 7% leading to suspension or erasure.

The report also revealed that the regulator had received 8,269 complaints in 2015, 7% less than the number of complaints it received in 2014.

Read more: GMC highlights intolerable pressure on doctors

Dr Pallavi Bradshaw, senior medicolegal adviser at Medical Protection said: ‘A significant amount of GMC investigations into doctors – around two thirds – are closed without action. On the surface this may appear positive, however it raises serious questions over why and how these cases are able to proceed to a full investigation.

‘We support doctors day-in, day-out when faced with a GMC investigation so are aware of the immense impact it can have. In our survey of 180 doctors investigated by the GMC over five years, 93% said it had impacted on their stress and anxiety.

‘The complaints triage process must be improved as a priority so the focus shifts away from investigations that are unnecessary, and the threshold for opening an investigation should be reviewed. We welcome GMC’s recognition that improvements are needed in a number of areas.’

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

Wide-ranging overhaul of GP bureaucracy promised amid spiralling practice workload

Wide-ranging overhaul of GP bureaucracy promised amid spiralling practice workload

Revalidation, referral processes, coding of patient data and letters required from...

Recognising and referring domestic violence and abuse

Recognising and referring domestic violence and abuse

A social enterprise is helping to train staff in GP practices to support women affected...

GPs 'in the dark' over pension tax trap support for this year

GPs 'in the dark' over pension tax trap support for this year

GPs remain in the dark over how a stop-gap offer from NHS England to pay off pension...

Network DES will cost GPs money and threaten independent contractor status, warn LMCs

Network DES will cost GPs money and threaten independent contractor status, warn LMCs

A group of LMCs has warned it 'cannot recommend' GPs sign up to revised plans for...

'A Hard Day's Night': a GP's musical reaction to the updated contract

'A Hard Day's Night': a GP's musical reaction to the updated contract

The life of a GP can be incredibly busy, but that hasn't stopped one talented doctor...

Viewpoint: Revamped 2020 contract 'a watershed moment for general practice'

Viewpoint: Revamped 2020 contract 'a watershed moment for general practice'

Following weeks of uncertainty over the future of primary care networks (PCNs), reworked...