MDU welcomes increased transparency from the GMC on the impact of its investigations
Responding to today’s publication by the GMC of its report in to doctors who have died while under investigation or during a period of monitoring, the Medical Defence Union (MDU) said that lessons must be learned, and improvements made.
The report reveals that between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2020, of the 29 doctors who sadly died during the course of a GMC investigation or programme of monitoring, five had died by suicide.
Dr Caroline Fryar, head of advisory services at the MDU, said:
“Today’s report makes for sombre reading. Members tell us time and again that undergoing a GMC investigation is one of the most difficult experiences of their professional lives. To learn that over a period of three years, five doctors died by suicide whilst they were involved in the process is truly heart-breaking. Our first thoughts are with their families, friends and colleagues.
“We welcome the publication of today’s report, and its commitment to publish three-year rolling data on an annual basis. This transparency is welcome.
“We work closely with the GMC to communicate the doctors’ perspective of GMC investigations, as we want to ensure that lessons are learnt, and improvements made. We recognise that the GMC is not complacent, and rightly so. The investigation process in many instances still takes far too long and compounds the stress for doctors.
“The government has committed to shortly bringing forward legislation to fundamentally reform the GMC – including the Fitness to Practise process. Today’s report is a further reminder why that reform is urgently needed, so the GMC can take a more flexible and responsive approach. We urge the government to deliver that legislative change without delay.”
Doctors experiencing health and wellbeing issues can find information on sources of support, such as our peer support network, on the MDU’s dedicated webpage