Shipman inquiry finds GMC has “fundamental flaws”

BMJ 2004; 330 doi: (Published 30 December 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;330:10
  1. Clare Dyer, legal correspondent
  1. BMJ

The General Medical Council, which regulates UK doctors, has “fundamental flaws” and its responsibility for disciplinary hearings that decide whether a doctor is fit to continue to practise should be handed over to an independent body, the Shipman inquiry concluded this week.

In a hard hitting report that she acknowledged would be “bruising” for the GMC, the inquiry's chairwoman, the appeal court judge Dame Janet Smith, said the council should no longer act as both investigator and judge under its new fitness to practise procedures. From November, these have replaced the old disciplinary regime under which panels decided whether doctors had been guilty of serious professional misconduct (BMJ 2004;329: 1366, 11 Dec, News Extra).

Dame Janet said it was inappropriate for the same body to carry out the investigative and judicial function and that she would have made the recommendation to hive …

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