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GMC considering tough stance over errors in patient care

A new consultation by the General Medical Council (GMC), the body that regulates all doctors working in the UK, is considering new ways to discipline doctors after they have made serious errors in patient care.
Currently, a doctor who makes a mistake can choose not to apologise to a patient they harm. However, the GMC is considering forcing the doctor to apologise when they get it wrong.
In addition to an apology, the GMC is also considering ways to restrict the doctor practising medicine, even after they have been retrained and their work has improved.
The protection of patients is becoming more important both in the NHS, with more calls for its care to be ‘transparent’, and also with the GMC.
Whilst the GMC already has wide ranging powers at its disposal, it aims to use the consultation to tighten up existing powers and make then even more effective.
Under these new guidelines, any doctor who does not raise their concerns about the abilities of a fellow doctor to practice in a safe manner will face a steeper punishment than they do under the current GMC rules.Whilst they recognise that doctors are highly responsible and trusted people, there are times when a minority of these professionals fall short of their responsibilities. It is at these times that they need the correct powers in place to ensure that the doctors who cause serious harm do suffer the consequences of their actions.
The consultation closes in November and the results published next year. However, there are some who believe that the consultation is just another element of regulation that will have little impact on the day-to-day working of most doctors in the UK.
Christopher Noble, head of clinical negligence at Atherton Godfrey, said: “Any moves towards improving patient safety are welcomed. This consultation is definitely a step in the right direction, but we feel that there is much more work to do to move patient safety up the agenda.”
If you or someone in your family has suffered from medical negligence, you should speak to a specialist medical negligence solicitor about making a claim for compensation.

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