Scotland's CMO backs sliding scale

Scotland’s CMO Dr Harry Burns backs moving from beyond reasonable doubt to the civil standard of proof in fitness-to-practise cases because that is how other professions are regulated.

Speaking at the RCGP’s annual conference in Edinburgh today, Dr Burns told delegates that they had to get involved with the GMC to influence how regulation changed.

‘Saying “I’m tearing up my standing order to the GMC” is selling a pass,’ he said.

‘It’s very important if we’re going to take medicine forward that we are still vigorous players in self-regulation.’

On the proposed changes of burden of proof in regulating the profession, Dr Burns said he had initially been against it when he saw the England CMO’s report.

Now he felt it had to happen, he said.

‘When the report came out and I saw the question of moving from beyond all reasonable doubt, my response was that it’s outrageous.

‘I was taken aback to discover that other professional bodies work that way. The argument is, why should doctors be any different? I don’t think there’s a strong argument for why medicine is different from other health care professionals.’

The GMC is currently consulting on changes.

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