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1 BRAND, 2 STRENGTHS


I feel anonymous complaints should


not be investigated at all. How can GPs possibly defend themselves against an allegation of an offence during a consultation when they cannot even access the notes of that person or recollect any consultation where the offence could have been deemed to occur? I spent months racking my brain to try to remember a consultation that could have led to the complaint. The only gratification I had was the knowledge that the complainant would not be informed of the outcome – unless of course I was sanctioned.


• From Julie Norris, partner and head of the regulatory and professional disciplinary defence team at law firm Kingsley Napley LLP Doctors are right to be concerned about these statistics. As the GMC points out, a complaint should not automatically be dismissed because the identity of the complainant is unknown, but such complaints are not presently dealt with in a different way from complaints made by an identifiable complainant. As so few anonymous complaints result in findings against doctors, partly because of the higher likelihood that the complaint will be considered baseless or malicious, it beggars belief that there is no triaging process for early resolution so that doctors are not left under investigation for longer than is necessary. Complaints made by individuals not willing to share their identity should be processed swiftly and closed early where there is no evidence of concern. Further radical reform may be necessary to ensure that investigations are not allowed to drift on without consequence to the GMC. Doctors need to be reassured that the GMC is doing all it can to balance public protection while protecting them from spurious, specious or unfounded complaints. Otherwise, doctors may ask whose side the GMC is on.


Mail, Professor Field mentioned a few points that demonstrated the failure of general practice, including patients having to queue for four hours to get an appointment and surgeries being ‘abandoned’ because of a lack of locums to cover when a partner needs to take leave. I don’t think it takes a genius to see an under-resourced, struggling system rather than a bunch of failing GPs. The powers that be need to support our ‘failing’ practices, finding where the problems lie and encouraging growth and change. It is the process of inspections and ratings that is shameful, not the


ONLINE


‘Anonymous complaints are given undue weight’ BMA chair Dr Mark Porter on Pulse’s investigation pulsetoday.co.uk/anon- complaints


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Professor Steve Field: ‘We’ve failed as a profession’


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