New research into GMC referrals

NEW research has been commissioned to find out why some doctors – particularly those who are black, Asian or minority ethnic (BME) – are referred to the General Medical Council by their employers more often than others.

The regulator has announced the launch of a major research, analysis and advice project designed to ensure its interactions with doctors are “appropriate and fair”.

Recent figures in the GMC’s report on the state of medical education and practice found that BME GPs are 20 per cent more likely to face a patient complaint and 30 per cent more likely to be investigated by the regulator. This is despite previous studies maintaining that the GMC’s processes “do not introduce disproportionality in investigations into doctors”.

The project will be led by Roger Kline of Middlesex University Business School and Dr Doyin Atewologun of Queen Margaret University of London’s School of Business and Management.

Dr Atewologun said he hoped the project would “help identify best practices from the available evidence and lead to positive changes.”

GMC chief executive Charlie Massey said: “Audits have consistently found that our fitness to practise processes and guidance are fair and consistent and do not introduce bias.

“But we do know that there is an overrepresentation of BME doctors that have been complained about and we want to know more about what is driving this, as well as whether there is an under representation of other doctors.”