Personal Views

The GMC is too lenient

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.325.7360.397 (Published 17 August 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:397
  1. Peter Wilmshurst, consultant cardiologist
  1. Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, Shrewsbury

    Doctors complain that the General Medical Council (GMC) does little but strike their colleagues off the medical register. Members of the general public believe that the GMC is too lenient on doctors. These apparently incompatible views are both correct. When a complaint is made against a doctor the main consideration of the GMC is whether the complaint raises issues about conduct or performance that call into question the doctor's right to practise. The GMC lacks powers to consider misconduct or poor performance by a doctor unless it is sufficiently serious to be called “serious professional misconduct” or “seriously deficient performance.” Therefore the only cases considered by the GMC are ones where there is a strong possibility that the doctor will be removed from the medical register if charges are proved. As a result many allegations about doctors that the public considers serious are dismissed by the GMC at the screening stage. I believe that there is inappropriate rejection of serious allegations by lenient screeners.

    There …

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