Medicopolitical Digest

Suspension procedures for doctors to be reviewedDoctor Patient Partnership tackles men's healthBMA chairman speaks out on clinical governance

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.317.7168.1325 (Published 07 November 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1325

Suspension procedures for doctors to be reviewed

The government has announced a review of the suspension procedures for hospital and community medical staff.

The existing guidance, issued in 1994, includes provision for cases to be reported to the appropriate regional office of the NHS Executive if a doctor has been suspended for more than six months.Announcing the review, the minister for health, Mr Alan Milburn, said that he was concerned about the inadequacies of the system. “Precious NHS resources are being squandered while doctors are under protracted suspensions.” Mr Milburn wants the system to be speeded up. Between March 1995 andOctober 1998, 43 cases of suspensions lasting over six months were reported to the NHS Executive.Of these there are still 14 cases unresolved.

Welcoming the review, the chairman of the BMA's Central Consultants and Specialists Committee, Dr Peter Hawker, said that the BMA had been concerned for some time about the length of time that doctors must wait following suspension. “There is a tendency,” he said, “for trusts to use suspension as a disciplinary action in itself when it …

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