GMC Receives 9140 Complaints About Doctors

22 Jul 2017 By Views : 1809

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GMC Receives 9,140 Complaints About Doctors

As per Pulse report, the ratio of doctors has fallen to the lowest level. GMC chief executive Charlie Massey was noted saying, "this followed the regulator's adoption of a more discerning approach to which cases are progressed to the investigation". In result of 1,428 fitness-to-practise investigations, 200 hearings and 93 suspensions took place after 9,140 complaints about doctors in 2016 were reported to the GMC.

By contrast in the year prior, 8,269 complaints resulted in 2,240 investigations, 239 hearings and 94 suspensions.

The news comes as Pulse revealed last year that GMC would no longer pursue formal fitness-to-practise investigations when a complaint was made following a one-off clinical mistake.

This was part of a programme of improvements it had been implementing to make its processes less burdensome on doctors following the deaths by suicide of a number of doctors while under GMC investigation.

Mr Massey said: 'We’ve been piloting an early enquiries process which has helped to reduce the number of cases we push through to the investigation, and indeed in 2016, we had about 800 fewer investigations than we’d had the previous year.’

According to Mr Massey, a major change to the process included filtering complaints by making informal enquiries following a complaint.

The GMC said other changes included working with responsible officers to ensure that, when appropriate, cases were dealt with locally. It also said it was routinely inviting more doctors for a meeting at the end of an investigation to get more information before deciding whether a hearing was necessary.

Further, the GMC now asks people to sign a disclosure stating ‘this complaint is made in good faith’ in a bid to discourage vexatious complaints.

Mr Massey also told Pulse that the BMA-led support service for doctors was helping to 'train our GMC investigators' and that the GMC is in the process of introducing a mechanism that will cause actions when a doctor is unwell and needs support.

Professor Clare Gerada, medical director for national GP mental health support provider Practitioner Health Programme, said: 'Overall this is good news. It is not just the figures, but overall the system is becoming more humane.

'It is quicker, more empathetic and does address the needs of the doctor - something folk like me have been advocating for.'

But GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey said the GMC should aim to do more.

He said: 'It's incredibly stressful for any doctor to know that a complaint about them has been made to the GMC. For most, this will have been the first time in their career and they will be very worried that a complaint automatically means the GMC will be taking action against them.

'These figures demonstrate how few complaints actually lead to such punitive action and the GMC should do more to make this clear to all doctors to help provide some reassurance should an unjustified complaint be made against them.'

In reference to Pulse | New GMC approach slashes number of fitness-to-practise investigations |

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