DOCTORS being investigated by the General Medical Council (GMC) will first be contacted by phone in order to offer a more "compassionate approach and reduce the impact of investigations".
The GMC says the change follows positive feedback from medical defence organisations on the proposal and is part of a series of improvements. It says a pilot carried out earlier this year found doctors felt more supported when initial phone calls were made.
The regulator has set out the new procedure in which GMC staff dealing with the investigation will first email the doctor to arrange a phone call to introduce themselves as the doctor’s contact, explaining what the immediate next steps will be and to signpost them to relevant support services.
A "bespoke communication plan" will be created for the doctor during the call, factoring in their communication preferences and assessing whether they may be vulnerable.
This will be followed up by written correspondence.
Professor Dame Carrie MacEwen, Chair of the GMC said: "Reducing the impact of our investigations on doctors is of the utmost importance to us. The vast majority of GMC investigations conclude without action, but we know that the impact of receiving a complaint can be great for doctors.
"The personal and compassionate approach of having a contact who can explain the investigation process over the phone and be a port of call for any queries has been favoured by doctors and support organisations alike."
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