Imperative that Government follows through with reforms to GMC powers amid delay

Press release from the BMA

Location: UK
Published: Friday 22 July 2022
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Responding to the Government delaying planned reforms to medical regulation, Professor Philip Banfield, said:

“The BMA has been campaigning for reforms to medical regulation for years, so for the Government to delay these much-needed legislative changes is incredibly disappointing.
“The proposed reforms would have reduced the adversarial and combative nature of the fitness-to-practise process that is so stressful and damaging to doctors, with no additional benefit to patient safety.

“Meanwhile, changes to the alternative route to specialist registration for doctors who have not completed a traditional GMC-approved UK training programme would have slashed the bureaucracy so that many talented and experienced staff, specialty or associate grade (SAS) doctors, could progress their careers and offer their skills at a more senior level to the NHS.

“For GPs, we have consistently maintained that they should be legally recognised as specialists on the GMC register, and it’s hugely frustrating and damaging to the NHS that they continue to have their expertise denied in this way.

“Most importantly, the Government must not use this delay to further renege on its promise to remove the GMC’s right to appeal fitness-to-practise tribunal decisions – something it committed to in 2018 – and we once again demand that this is honoured now.

“That the GMC still has this legal right, which it has repeatedly and unfairly deployed against doctors in the past, is a great source of anxiety for doctors, and only heightens the fear and mistrust they have in their regulator.

“Coupled with our calls for this essential legislative reform, we continue to push for an urgent comprehensive independent root and branch evaluation of the GMC’s fitness-to-practise decision-making procedures, to ensure regulation is fair, proportionate and just, that has the wellbeing of doctors, as well as patients, at its heart.”

Ends

Notes to editors

  1. The BMA has joined a number of doctors’ organisations in writing to the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care outlining our joint concerns about the delay.

The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.