A new website for doctors who may be concerned about their own health or that of a colleague has been launched by the GMC.
Your Health Matters provides detailed information and advice on the process involved when doctors are referred to the GMC with concerns relating to their health. The website also features case studies showing doctors with a range of health concerns and a testimonial from a doctor who has gone through fitness to practise procedures.
Niall Dickson, the Chief Executive of General Medical Council said: "It would be hard to overstate the anguish and trauma experienced by many doctors whose health has affected their ability to practise. We recognise that our procedures can often bring additional stress. While the GMC must never compromise on standards of patient safety, we are anxious to do what we can to support doctors with health problems and help them back to safe practice wherever possible."
Dr Clare Gerada, Chair of the Royal College of GPs and Medical Director of Practitioner Health Programme, which provided support and input into the website, said: "When a doctor is referred to the GMC it can be one of the most stressful and painful times of their lives and, for many, can lead to long periods of anxiety and depression.
"The GMC are mindful of this and, while their primary responsibility is the protection of patients, they are also aware that doctors need to be supported as the GMC process unfolds.
"This information provides the first step in this support, helping to provide timely information for doctors who may for health reasons be involved in the GMC's fitness to practise procedures."
The GMC has also announced that it will be undertaking research to assess if its current fitness to practise procedures for doctors with health concerns are striking the right balance. It is developing new guidance to help its decision makers as they consider whether or not to launch an investigation when dealing with a doctor who is suspected of having a health problem that is affecting their practice.