The Authority's response to GMC consultation on changes to the medical register published in October 2016
What is the consultation about?
We welcome the opportunity to respond to this consultation about the General Medical Council’s (GMC) proposal to alter its register.
The Professional Standards Authority believes registers held by healthcare professional regulators should serve the primary purpose of public protection – they do this by providing information to both the public and employers about whether an individual is qualified and fit to practise. When assessing the changes to any register, our scrutiny stems from this perspective.
Whilst there may be a need for more information on registers – we mention in our Maximising Registers report some details which the public would like to see on registers1 – there should be a strong evidence base for estimating the effects of changes to the register. For example, in the GMC’s research, Reviewing the LRMP: Options for Development, the inclusion of registrants’ photos on the register was considered by some stakeholders to ‘help with identification’, but there were also concerns ‘around personal security’.
It might have been helpful if the consultation document had highlighted more clearly the potential benefits of each specific proposal, and the evidence that demonstrates that those benefits can be achieved. The Trajectory report does make use of international examples which are helpful for comparison, but lists few details about the benefits of adding information to the register.
We suggest more evidence could have been presented to account for all risks and benefits of developing the register in the ways proposed. This would have enabled the GMC to demonstrate as much as possible the effects – and any unintended consequences – of alterations to its register