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Consultation on sanctions for doctors 22/08/2014 The GMC is consulting on plans to protect patients, including tougher sanctions and an expectation that doctors will apologise to patients if they have caused them any harm.

Consultation on sanctions for doctors

The General Medical Council (GMC) is consulting on plans to protect patients and uphold confidence in the medical profession, including tougher sanctions and an expectation that doctors will apologise to patients if they have caused them any harm.

The independent regulator is seeking views on:

  • Imposing sanctions where doctors make serious clinical errors, even where they have successfully retrained and improved their practice, if they failed to heed concerns and take steps to protect patients sooner.
  • Whether panels should require a doctor to apologise where he or she has previously failed to do so.
  • Imposing more serious action in cases where doctors fail to raise concerns about a colleague’s fitness to practise or take prompt action where a patient’s basic care needs are not being met.
  • Improved public protection in cases where a doctor has bullied colleagues and put patients at risk or discriminated against others in their professional or personal life.

“Doctors are among the most trusted professionals, and rightly so, and they deserve to be treated fairly. In the vast majority of cases one-off clinical errors do not merit any action by the GMC. But if we are to maintain that trust, in the small number of serious cases where doctors fail to listen to concerns and take action sooner to protect patients, they should be held to account for their actions,” said Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the General Medical Council.

“It is also right that patients or their families are told what went wrong and if appropriate they should be given a full apology,” he added. “We believe this should be taken into account when deciding what if any sanction needs to be imposed to protect future patients and uphold the reputation of the profession.”

Comments are sought by 14th November.

 

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