News

GMC considers action against doctors after BMJ “cash for referrals” investigation

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h620 (Published 03 February 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h620
  1. Jonathan Gornall
  1. 1London

The UK General Medical Council is considering taking action against doctors in private practice who have referred patients to hospitals in exchange for cash or other incentives.

The news comes after the disclosure in The BMJ last week that private hospital chains have been “buying” referrals to their facilities by offering consultants inducements ranging from free office space and administrative support to commission based cash payments and share schemes.1

“The GMC takes very seriously the issue of conflicts of interests,” Niall Dickson, chief executive of the regulator, said in a statement published in response to The BMJ’s findings.

The GMC’s guidance to doctors Good Medical Practice prohibits doctors from accepting “any inducement, gift or hospitality that may affect or be seen to affect the way you prescribe for, treat or refer patients or commission services for patients.” Doctors who breached the guidance, said Dickson, faced sanctions, including suspension or the loss of the right …

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