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Medicopolitical Digest

Medicopolitical digestSuspension unfair to doctors, say peersHealth Alert 2000 launchedNHS crisis caused by gradual attrition

BMJ 1999; 318 doi: (Published 23 January 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:267

Suspension unfair to doctors, say peers

The partial suspension of consultants and medical staff is being considered as an alternative to the present suspension procedures, junior health minister Baroness Hayman announced in the House of Lords last week after peers had criticised “injustices” suffered by suspended doctors.

Rather than take away someone's professional status and way of working completely, Lady Hayman envisaged a retraining, and specifying what sort of work was done. The government's chief medical officer will produce proposals for consultation to address poor clinical performance, concentrating on presentation, early recognition, and problem resolution. Lady Hayman admitted that the NHS procedures had proved inadequate, and the government had initiated a review, which she hoped would be completed within a few months (BMJ 1998:317:1325). The BMA's evidence would be particularly useful, the minister said. It was an irony that the present regulations did not always achieve the high standards and public protection that were sought. She also wanted to ensure that doctors were treated fairly, humanely, and with the minimum of delay.

Baroness Knight, the former Conservative MP who raised the issue, said that hospital doctors in Britain could be suspended from duty …

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