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Medico Legal

GMC launches helpline for doctors to raise patient safety concerns

Picture of telephone with tangled cable for Your Expert Witness storyThe General Medical Council (GMC) has launched a confidential helpline to enable doctors to seek advice on any issues they may be dealing with and to raise serious concerns about patient safety when they feel unable to do this at local level. At the same time, on 10 Dec, the GMC launched a new online decision aid to help doctors report patient safety concerns.

The new services are part of the GMC's on-going commitment to support doctors who raise concerns around patient safety and to foster a more open and transparent working culture in which all staff feel empowered to speak up. The launch of both services follows the publication of new GMC guidance for doctors, Raising and Acting on Concerns about Patient Safety, which was sent to every doctor in the UK earlier this year.

Last Updated on Friday, 21 December 2012 11:22


Doctors begin ‘revalidation’ process

Picture of stethoscope for Your Expert Witness storyRadical changes to the way doctors are checked to ensure they are safe to treat patients came into force on 3 December. The new system of checks, known as revalidation, will be run by the General Medical Council (GMC). It means the UK's 230,000 licensed doctors are now legally required to show they are keeping up to date and are fit to practise.

The UK is the first country in the world to introduce such a system across its whole healthcare system, covering GPs, hospital doctors, locums and those working in the independent sector. To keep their licence to practise, doctors will be required to revalidate on a regular basis, usually every five years.

The GMC began the new system by writing to 13,000 doctors telling them when they will revalidate. The rest of the UK's licensed doctors will be written to by the end of January. The GMC expects to revalidate the majority of licensed doctors by March 2016, with medical leaders expected to go first.

Last Updated on Monday, 03 December 2012 17:55


Medics form new political party

Picture of Dr Clive Peedell for Your Expert Witness storyA new political party has been launched by doctors to fight the changes to the NHS which they see as damaging to the healthcare system. National Health Action is set to challenge the privatisation of the NHS and the fragmentation of care accelerated by the Health and Social Care Act.

The launch was reported by the BMA, which said the new party "...will fight to repeal the act, and campaign to ensure that clinical commissioning groups have the freedom to choose local NHS services."

According to the BMA, the party intends to fight in up to 50 Parliamentary constituencies, including those of the PM, former health secretary Andrew Lansley, current health secretary Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor George Osborne and schools minister David Laws. It will also take part in local elections.

Last Updated on Saturday, 17 November 2012 16:18


There should be no need for whistleblowers in a transparent NHS, conference told

The chair of the BMA council, Mark Porter, told a conference on whistleblowing on 3 October that some of the risks faced by patients in hospitals were caused by the working environment and culture within the NHS rather than the fact that providing healthcare is itself 'inherently risky'.

He said that there would continue to be poor care and avoidable patient-safety incidents " long as the culture of quality and safety is not fully embedded into our service from the top to the bottom and, as importantly, back again from the bottom to the top.

"We are engaged in a business that needs urgently to reform itself and to move from the victimisation of those with a conscience, to their celebration."

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 October 2012 13:48


One third of elderly cancers diagnosed in A&E

Kings College Hospital A&E by C Ford for Expert Witness storyNearly one third of cancers in the over 70s are diagnosed following emergency admission to hospital, according to new research by the National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) and published on 21 September in the British Journal of Cancer.

The research found that 31% of cancers in that age group – around 38,300 a year in England – are diagnosed through an emergency presentation, compared to 24%, or around 58,400 cases a year, in all age groups. This new study examined the journey of 739,667 cancer patients between 2006 and 2008 in England, working backwards to see how they were diagnosed with cancer and the sequence of events that took them there.

Last Updated on Saturday, 22 September 2012 13:09