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Tuesday 24th April 2018

MOT-style tests for doctors

21st February 2007

Doctors will no longer regulate themselves under new government plans that will see medics forced to undergo regular checks.


The government also wants to see a more robust system of death certification with an appointed medical examiner to sign off all certificates signed by doctors.

The white paper comes after a raft of rogue doctors and medical scandals, including murderer Harold Shipman.

The General Medical Council will no longer adjudicate on fitness-to-practise cases which will instead be handed over to an independent body. The test of guilt in these cases will operate on a sliding scale depending on the seriousness of the accusation using the civil ‘balance of probability’ instead of the criminal test of ‘beyond all reasonable doubt’.

The GMC will also become a less profession-led organisation, with 50 per cent of its membership made up of lay people.

GPs and consultants will undergo five-yearly revalidation inspections and those who fail will have to undergo retraining or could be barred from practicing.

The GMC faced harsh criticism in an inquiry into Manchester GP Harold Shipman who murdered more than 200 people over a period of 23 years. The medical profession has also come under fire following other scandals, such as Clifford Ayling, a Sussex GP who sexually abused patients.

The GMC will continue to control undergraduate education, and investigate complaints made against doctors, although it will no longer decide on sanctions.

The proposals have been welcomed by the GMC and other doctors’ groups including the British Medical Association, although the change to membership of the GMC has drawn criticism.

MPs will now debate the new plans before they are introduced.

Similar systems are being considered for the other eight health professional regulatory bodies, which includes nurses, dentists and pharmacists.

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