Recommendation 222

General Medical Council involvement in complaints and concerns

Accepted
The General Medical Council should have a clear policy about the circumstances in which a generic complaint or report ought to be made to it, enabling a more proactive approach to monitoring fitness to practise.

The General Medical Council has made it clear that it recognises the need to contribute to the identification and in some cases the investigation of generic concerns, building on its progress in recent years to become a more proactive and collaborative regulator.  This includes signposting complainants to the appropriate regulator if their concerns are not for the General Medical Council; making referrals to systems or other professional regulators; investigating concerns arising from the media (including those which do not specifically name a doctor) and sharing information with and participating in regional quality surveillance groups and risk summits.  In light of this recommendation, the General Medical Council will undertake to clarify in what circumstances it has an interest in generic reports or complaints and continue to build its relationship with the Care Quality Commission to ensure appropriate leadership in relation to generic concerns.  We will continue to work with the General Medical Council and other organisations to ensure that communication and effective sharing of information between regulators of all kinds works well and in the interests of patients.

Update

Direct interventions by the General Medical Council will be confined to matters within its regulatory remit in the quality of education and of individual practitioners.

It contributes to the identification and investigation of systemic or generic concerns outside its direct remit by signposting complainants to the appropriate regulator, making referrals to systems or other professional regulators, investigating concerns that are raised in the media and sharing information with and participating in Regional Quality Surveillance Groups and Risk Summits.

The General Medical Council has established an internal Patient Safety Intelligence Forum to coordinate information that may demonstrate concerns about patient safety or medical practice and ensure the appropriate operational and policy response across its functions relevant to operational or thematic risk. This Forum will continue to develop throughout 2014 and 2015 in parallel with the development of the General Medical Council’s enhanced data strategy.