Interview: GMC reforms 'must be seamless'
Susie Sell, GP newspaper,
04 March 2010, 00:00am
Changes to the GMC's remit will be for the better, its chief executive Niall Dickson tells Susie Sell.
Mr Dickson: GMC will appeal if it disagrees with OHPA decisions
Just two weeks into his new role as GMC chief executive, former BBC social affairs editor Niall Dickson was called back to his old stamping ground to appear on Newsnight.
The inquest into the death of a patient treated by German locum Dr Daniel Ubani was in full swing, and Mr Dickson had been enlisted to discuss laws preventing the GMC from checking the language skills and competence of EU doctors before they practise in England.
A subsequent call for a review of the laws has been a key focus for Mr Dickson since he started at the GMC in January, but with changes to the regulator's functions set to take place over the next year, it is just one of many.
The GMC's chairman Professor Peter Rubin was quick to point out the organisation faces 'a challenging time' when he announced last year that Mr Dickson would replace Finlay Scott.
From April 2011, the GMC's current adjudication function in fitness-to-practise cases will be handed over to the Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator (OHPA).
Mr Dickson wants the move to be seamless, both for doctors and GMC staff. He acknowledges that the GMC 'will have to help (the OHPA) set itself up'.
'We will be having a discussion with (the OHPA) as it takes this over,' he says. 'And I imagine that it will be taking on lots of our panellists. I do not imagine that it will start with a blank sheet of paper.'
Mr Dickson also says the GMC will continue producing guidance for tribunals about 'what we think are appropriate sanctions in relation to standards that we set through good medical practice'.
While Mr Dickson says there will be a 'sense of loss' at the GMC over the reduction of its remit, he believes the handover is a 'good thing' that will make its role clearer.
'At the moment there is a "Chinese wall" within the GMC whereby the panel has a degree of autonomy as it makes its decisions,' he says.
Power to appeal
The transfer over to the OHPA will, however, give the GMC a new power of appeal.
'Where we disagree with a tribunal or panel decision, and we think it is a serious disagreement, we will appeal,' Mr Dickson asserts. 'I am sure the tribunal and panels will operate very effectively, but we will have that power.
'People will therefore see clearly that it is not us making the judgment, but it is us who are the guardians of the patients and the public, and the guardians of the trust that the public has in the profession.'
Under his watch Mr Dickson also believes the relationship between the GMC and the profession will be changing.
The key channel through which this will happen is, of course, revalidation. 'I think in the past we have been seen very much as an organisation that did things to doctors when things went wrong,' he says.
'I want us to be seen as an organisation that supports doctors who are striving to ensure their competence and fitness to practise. That is a fundamental difference.'
Listening to the profession
As the GMC's role shifts, Mr Dickson says his key focus will be an increase in communication with the profession, and making the GMC 'better at listening'.
'Our standards work does provide a blueprint for the way in which we should go,' he says. 'It is very thorough and it involves a lot of consultation. We need to do that in other areas of our work - even more than we are doing now.'
Indeed, the GMC has now launched a consultation on the revalidation process, which Mr Dickson says will 'clear some of the ground' and debunk some of the 'myths' surrounding revalidation, such as the idea that there will be exams after year five.
He remains aware of major challenges, not least the threat a shortage of cash across the NHS may pose.
'I think there are a significant number of people within the profession who are still sceptical or uncertain about (revalidation) - even if they support the principle,' he says.
'We have to get the implementation right in order to win them over and to make sure this thing really takes off.'
GMC to lobby EU on language test law change
Neil Durham, healthcarerepublic.com,
30 October 2009, 00:15am
The GMC has said it will continue to lobby the EU for a change in the law to allow it to language-test doctors, even as other regulators say they have given up.
Foreign GPs may be registered with the GMC despite struggling to understand English
The 2005 EU directive on the recognition of professional qualifications enabled the free movement of clinicians around Europe, by requiring the GMC and other regulators to accept overseas medical qualifications. But it also bars them from conducting any formal language testing.
As a result, European clinicians may be registered with the GMC despite struggling to understand English.
The case of Dr Daniel Ubani, a German doctor who accidentally killed a patient on his first UK out-of-hours shift, highlighted the risks of hiring doctors whose English is not fluent.
Polly Kettenacker, EU and international officer at the Nursing and Midwifery Council, said the regulator had been lobbying the European Commission to change the directive ‘in the interests of patient safety'.
‘But we've established that's not going to happen,' she said. The NMC was now focusing on warning employers that professional registration does not imply fluency, she added.
But a spokeswoman for the GMC said that the regulator's ‘long-standing position' was unchanged. ‘We want to be able to systematically test doctors' English language ability at the point of first registration,' she said. ‘We continue to press for change both as an independent organisation and with other healthcare regulators.'
She reminded employers that they had a responsibility to conduct interviews, to ensure applicants' language skills were up to the job.
January 26, 2010
Nu stiu ce modificari vor fi, dar stiu ca limba engleza nu se va schimba mult in urmatorul an, hahaha! Pe un ton mai serios, vreau sa subliniez ca in munca de doctor cunoasterea limbii pe care o vorbesc pacientii si cei de pe interview panels si examinatorii este o premiza esentiala pt a face o treaba buna la servici si pt a trece cu succes interviuri si examene. Sorry for stating the obvious...succes tuturor!
January 26, 2010
uitandu ma pe siteul FP am observat ca se preconizeaza niste modificari pentru FP 2011.
una este reprezentata de niste modificari in cadrul testului IELTS.
please be aware that the English language requirements are subject to change for Foundation Programme 2011.
stie cineva ce modificari vor fi operate?
Vincet aut mori!
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