The BMA has welcomed the General Medical Council’s (GMC's) decision to introduce steps designed to reduce the number of full fitness-to-practise (FTP) investigations it carries out.
The medical regulator has said that it will seek to implement new processes designed to speed up information gathering and decision making following a complaint, which it says will greatly reduce the number of single clinical-incident investigations it performs.
The move comes following the conclusion of a two-year pilot scheme, during which GMC investigators sought to rapidly assess information from medical records and independent experts, to determine whether patients were at ongoing risk and if a full investigation was needed.
A total of 309 cases looked at during the two-year pilot resulted in almost two-thirds being closed without requiring a full-scale investigation.
BMA council chair Chaand Nagpaul welcomed the move, saying it will encourage a fairer and more proportionate regulatory approach.
“Being subject to an (FTP) complaint can be an extremely serious and distressing experience for doctors, not least as investigations are all too often delayed and drawn out, even when they result in no further action being taken," Dr Nagpaul said.
“To serve the public effectively, the GMC must ensure that the investigations which it rightly conducts are fair and efficient and do not cause unnecessary stress for doctors,” he said.