BMA backs MoT for GPs

31 May 01
The British Medical Association has thrown its weight behind plans to check doctors' fitness to practise after the General Medical Council decided to press ahead with its proposals.

01 June 2001

The GMC's intention for doctors to be given a professional MoT every five years has been controversial.

In principle, doctors support the measure, which was unveiled in the wake of various scandals, including that of serial killer GP Harold Shipman. However, many feel it would be too time-consuming and concentrate on punishment rather than rehabilitation. Some doctors are said to be planning early retirement to escape revalidation.

But now the GMC's council has decided to press the incoming government for the primary legislation needed to set up the new system.

A pilot study of 250 doctors had demonstrated that revalidation would 'weed out' under-performing doctors, the regulator insisted.

BMA chairman Ian Bogle said he would continue to lobby the GMC for changes in its plans. 'The BMA has consistently supported the principle that all doctors should demonstrate on a periodic basis that they are safe and competent to practise,' he said.

'That is an important reassurance for the public. We have had our differences with the GMC over the detail of the proposals but I am reassured that the GMC now recognises that our concerns are not matters of mere detail but important practical issues,' he added.

The BMA will be pressing the GMC to extend the scheme to cover locums, retired doctors who take up part-time or short-term work, and doctors on career breaks.

It is believed that the scheme will not be introduced before 2004.


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