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BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 02 March 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:583
  1. Linda Beecham

    GMC to consult on fitness to practise committees

    The General Medical Council is to consult widely on a consultation document on the constitution of its fitness to practise committees. At present there are three committees: the preliminary proceedings committee (the committee which decides whether to refer doctors to the conduct committee or to the health committee), the professional conduct committee, and the health committee. The GMC has to create two new committees to deal with the performance procedures when they begin operating in 1997. These will be the committee on professional performance, which will determine whether a doctor's professional performance has been seriously deficient and the assessment referral committee, which will determine whether doctors who have refused to undergo performance assessment voluntarily should be required to do so.

    The problem is that this could add a potential extra workload of 200 days of meetings a year in addition to the current 123. And although the council's constitution is expected to change this year, adding 12 additional lay members the overall size will stay the same at 104 members: 25 lay, 54 elected, and 25 appointed.

    The council agreed at its recent meeting that there should be a flexible approach. It has decided that members should be able to serve concurrently on more than one fitness to practise committee and that members of the preliminary proceedings committee should be able to sit on the professional conduct committee in the following year.


    At present the elected members must outnumber the joint total of lay and appointed members on the fitness to practise committees. In future, although this arrangement will continue for the main committees, the panels which will …

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