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“Doctors could be struck off if they fail to apologise to patients”

Posted on September 18th 2014

A recent report by the Telegraph describes how Doctors could be struck off for failure to “blow the whistle” on a colleague soon enough or for not apologising to patients and their relatives when they make a mistake, under new proposed rules being set up by the GMC (General Medical Council).

The report sets out that the GMC, which regulates doctors, has announced plans to strengthen sanctions against doctors after a report found the public expects more from medics. Under the proposed sanctions, doctors could be struck off after harming patients even in cases where they have retrained and can show they have improved their practice. Those who fail to apologise to patients and relatives after harming patients could also be taken into account and mean more serious sanctions are applied, the consultation said.

Accordingly to the Telegraph serious sanctions could be applied if doctors fail to raise concerns about a colleague’s fitness to practice or take prompt action where a patient’s basic care needs are not being met.

Mr Niall Dickson, chief executive of the General Medical Council, was quoted as saying:

“Doctors are among the most trusted professionals, and rightly so, and they deserve to be treated fairly. But if we are to maintain that trust, in the small number of serious cases where doctors fail to listen to concerns and take action sooner to protect patients, they should be held to account for their actions”.

Mr Dickinson is further quoted to say:

“We believe that doctors and patients want stronger action in these serious cases”. “It is also right that patients or their families are told what went wrong and if appropriate they should be given a full apology”,

The report describes how the results of the consultation, which will run until November 2014, will form the basis of guidance on the sanctions doctors should face for various offences, similar to sentencing guidance used by courts of law.

Peter Walsh from the patient safety charity Action against Medical Accidents (AvMA) was quoted as saying

“We welcome the proposal to enable the GMC to take regulatory action against doctors who have shown no insight following serious complaints that have been upheld about them. It is not acceptable that they have not been able to even when they have wanted to in cases like those involving doctors involved in the Mid Staffordshire and Gosport War Memorial hospitals scandals”. “There needs to be more transparency and patients need to be given the right to an independent review of decisions not to investigate concerns about health professionals, and access to specialist independent advice”.

We all rely on and trust medical professionals such as doctors, nurses/midwives, dentists and pharmacists, to provide us with the best treatment and care as part of our day to day lives. Unfortunately, sometimes medical professionals do make mistakes and the consequences of these mistakes can be life changing. Whilst we appreciate the significance an apology can have for a patient, or their family, in order for them to move on with their lives. We also understand that these mistakes can leave patients unable to work or requiring extra care, through no fault of their own. Financial implications that unfortunately, an apology can’t buy.

We also understand that these mistakes can leave patients unable to work or requiring extra care, through no fault of their own. Financial implications that unfortunately, an apology can’t buy.

Here at Oliver & Co our medical negligence solicitors have experience in dealing a vast range of cases involving failings by Doctors in Hospitals, GP surgeries, Dental practices or even pharmacy’s. We have successfully obtained compensation for Client’s who have found themselves in life-changing circumstances as a result of failings from medical professionals.

Call and speak to a member of our team on 01244 312306