Intended for healthcare professionals

Rapid response to:

Editor's Choice

Medical corruption in the UK

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h506 (Published 29 January 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h506

Rapid Response:

Fiona Godlee, Editor of the BMJ, has concluded that: “The profession must take the lead to protect patients and maintain public trust. The GMC should act, and a public register of UK doctors’ financial interests is long overdue.”(1)

In response, Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the GMC, has stated that: “Our guidance is comprehensive and clear in respect of the responsibilities of individual doctors and we have taken appropriate action against individual doctors in the past where there has been evidence that our guidance has been breached”. (2)

I have petitioned the Scottish Government for a Sunshine Act regarding health professionals’ financial conflicts of interest. (3) This was considered most recently at the meeting of the Petitions Committee on 27th January. The evidence accumulated so far demonstrates that existing Scottish Government guidance, in place since 2003, has never been followed in NHS Scotland. FOI response from the GMC confirms that no doctor has been formally investigated in Scotland for breaching guidance on financial interests. (4)

Niall Dickson has stated on behalf of the GMC that “Parliament has not given us powers”. It would seem that Fiona Godlee has correctly identified what needs to be done, and it is clear that governments will need to act.

References:
(1) Godlee, F. Medical corruption in the UK. 29 Jan 2015 http://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h506
(2) Dickson, N. The GMC responds to the special report in the BMJ on regulating doctors’ financial and commercial interests; 29 Jan 2015 http://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h396/rr
(3) Gordon, P.J. PE01493: A Sunshine Act for Scotland http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/GettingInvolved/Petitions/sunshineact
(4) General Medical Council response to Dr Peter J Gordon. F13/5915/EH; dated14 Jan 2014

Competing interests: No competing interests

31 January 2015
Peter, J. Gordon
Psychiatrist for Older Adults
NHS Locum
FK9 4AX