In our annual review of performance, we sought further information from the GMC about some areas of its work. We concluded that the GMC has demonstrated that it continues to meet all our Standards of Good Regulation.
Guidance and Standards: provides guidance to help registrants apply the standards and ensure this guidance is up to date
In this review period the GMC continued its work to revise its guidance on decision-making and consent. It considered the recommendations from both the Paterson Inquiry and Cumberlege Review. It published the new guidance in September 2020. We also saw that the GMC provided further guidance for doctors after the change to abortion law in Northern Ireland.
Education and Training: assures educational providers are delivering students and trainees that meet its requirements in a transparent and proportionate way
Following a pilot, the GMC is ready to roll out its new process for medical training quality assurance. The new process takes a risk-based approach and organisations will be required to sign a declaration and complete a self-assessment for the GMC. We do not have any concerns about the approach in principle, and we will monitor how it works in practice.
Registration: maintains and publishes an accurate register of those who meet its requirements, including any restrictions on their practice
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the GMC established a temporary register of former registrants (for example, those who had previously retired). We asked the GMC about its approach where concerns were raised about doctors on that register. It told us that it received 19 fitness to practise referrals about doctors on the temporary register and that it had revoked the temporary registration/licence to practise in one of those cases. The GMC said that none of the referrals were about clinical issues that occurred during the pandemic. It said it had not identified any instances of doctors being given temporary registration inappropriately.
Fitness to Practise: the process for examining and investigating cases is fair, proportionate and consistent
We asked the GMC for some information about its process relating to witnesses who provide expert evidence during fitness to practise proceedings, following concerns we received. These included concerns about the content of reports and experts’ suitability for a particular case. The GMC told us about its process to quality assure the evidence it receives from experts and we were satisfied that those checks should address the concerns we received.
Fitness to Practise: all parties to a complaint are supported to participate effectively in the process
In November 2019 the GMC published a new patient charter, which is intended to ‘improve patients’ pathways to the GMC’. It includes six promises which the GMC will use to evaluate its performance. The promises are to treat patients with dignity and respect, to help them find the best way to raise their concern, to keep them updated, to communicate in a way that works for them, to handle their information with care and to learn from their experience.