NEW figures have shown a rise in the number of medical graduates declaring health issues, alcohol offences or medical school disciplinary action to the General Medical Council.
Applications from trainees for provisional GMC registration have also shown a small increase in the number of “serious” issues compared to the previous year. The proportion of graduates declaring issues overall, however, remained the same at 9.6 per cent of applications.
An article in BMA News reported that 691 graduates declared fitness to practise issues this year, ranging from minor parking offences to more serious issues such as violence, theft and criminal damage. Of these, 381 were deemed to need further investigation, and there was a small rise of 0.3 per cent — to 196 — in the number of cases declared serious and handled by the GMC’s complex casework team.
Of the 7,205 applicants this year, 35 confessed to alcohol-related offences, compared with 22 of the 7,103 applicants in 2010. The number reporting being found drunk and disorderly rose to 16 from nine the previous year, and those guilty of drink driving increased to 19 from 13.
Seventy-five students said this year that they had been disciplined by their medical schools, compared with 57 the previous year. The greatest increase in this category was in warnings, which jumped to 29 from 11.
Health issues were reported by 85 students this year, compared with 51 the previous year; the number of graduates with mental health issues increased to 39 from 26, and those with physical health issues rose to 40 from 22.
BMA medical students committee joint deputy chair Jenny Ross said: “This small amount of change is likely to be the result of normal fluctuation from year to year, although we note the relative increase in the reporting of more serious issues.
“This may be a result of improved awareness among students of what needs to be reported. We support the GMC’s aim to increase student understanding of fitness-to-practise issues, and hope that its efforts continue to make a difference as there is still a long way to go.”
The GMC has said it will be conducting further work to investigate the types of applicants with positive declarations that need further consideration.