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GMC Extends Fitness To Practise Emotional Support Programme

The General Medical Council has extended the contract for a free service offering confidential emotional support for doctors involved in fitness to practise cases for another 12 months i.e. until April 2018.

According to the GMC, the British Medical Association (BMA) runs the Doctor Support Service following a successful pilot in 2012 and has been accessed by more than 500 doctors. To access this service, Doctors do not need to be BMA members. It is also available to doctors going through a GMC licence-to-practise withdrawal process.

The Chief Executive of the GMC, Charlie Massey said that many medical professionals will be the subjects of a complaint at some point in their career, and the GMC has a lawful obligation to study any claims that suggest patients could be at risk as a result of a doctor breaching GMC standards.

He further added that the GMC understands that an investigation can be stressful, for everyone involved so the GMC is doing what they can do to decrease the stress both on doctors and the complainants.

Fellow doctors are uniquely placed to know the type of pressure users of the service are under, which is what makes the service so important, he added.

Dr Michael Peters, the head of the BMA Doctors for Doctors Unit said that the support service has emotionally supported many doctors during their fitness to practise cases.

He added that the surveys into a doctor’s practice can be very stressful regardless of the outcome, and so it’s important to support doctors to cope with this process.

From Monday to Friday between 9am and 5pm, Doctors can call the Doctor Support Service on 020 7383 6707 or email them at doctorsupportservice@bma.org.uk.

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