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Thursday, 1 June, 2000, 16:42 GMT 17:42 UK
Doctors lash 'out of touch' GMC
GMC plaque
The GMC is 'out of touch', say doctors
Leaders of the UK's hospital consultants have passed a vote of no confidence in the General Medical Council (GMC) at their annual conference.

The British Medical Association's consultants' conference in London was told that the body, which is responsible for controlling and protecting the public from bad doctors, was "badly out of touch" with the public, profession and Parliament.

As an institution the GMC is dysfunctional, incompetent and arrogant

Dr Peter Terry
The conference also severely criticised plans put forward by the GMC to introduce regular performance checks on doctors, describing them as "Draconian".

Dr Peter Terry, a consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist, proposed the motion, describing the GMC as "dysfunctional, incompetent and arrogant".

'Draconian and inefficient'

He said: "The GMC is not defending self-regulation. Introducing Draconian and inefficient policies will lose our policies."

He said that some of the changes to the makeup of the GMC were "external regulation by any other name."

The vote is a further blow to the GMC on the day that an official inquiry report suggested that some of the GMC's powers should be taken over by NHS-controlled bodies.

The Ritchie Inquiry recommended changes to the way the medical profession is regulated in the wake of the Rodney Ledward scandal.

The surgeon's botched gynaecological operations left scores of women permanently damaged.

'Protection for patients'

The GMC has been trying to convince ministers that it is capable of effectively rooting out incompetent doctors who might harm patients.

It has proposed changing its own make-up to include a higher proportion of non-medical, or lay members.

This has also sparked accusations that the profession would no longer be regulating itself.

Its chief executive Finlay Scott said: "It is ironic that these motions have been passed on the day when the Ritchie Report makes absolutely plain the need for more effective systems to ensure that patients are protected.

"We are engaged in a programme of far reaching reform that will complement the Government's plans within the NHS.

"Revalidation will ensure that doctors are fully up to date and fit to practise whatever their chosen field, in both the NHS and the private sector.

"We are committed to ensuring that the systems that we introduce are effective, and are determined not to be blown off course".

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See also:

09 Feb 00 | Health
GMC promises radical reform
02 Mar 00 | Health
Doctors turn on the GMC
11 May 00 | Health
BMA: Speed up complaints
01 Jun 00 | Health
'Patients still not protected'
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