Public Finance, Jan. 12th - 18th 2001, p. 12
Reports the launch of the National Clinical Assessment Authority, which will deal with public concerns about the performance of doctors. It will act as a "rapid response" body and will advise hospitals and health authorities so that they can take early action to check poor performance and ensure doctors are practising safely.
J. Eaglesham and N. Timmins
Financial Times, Jan. 18th 2001, p.3
The Lord Chief Justice has warned the medical profession that the courts will no longer apply a deferential "doctor knows best" doctrine in medical negligence cases. He said that the scale of litigation showed the NHS was "not giving sufficient priority to avoiding medical mishaps and treating patients justly when those mishaps occurred".
(See also Times, Jan. 18th 2001, p. 13)
Times, Feb. 15th 2001, p. 1+8
Reports a crisis of confidence in the medical profession fuelled by disclosures that complaints to the General Medical Council had risen by 50% in 2000. The GMC is considering moves to restore public confidence, including a plan to split prosecution from its duty to judge doctors and establishing a public tribunal for less serious complaints that are now resolved by a private letter to the doctor.
(See also Guardian, Feb. 15th 2001, p. 6)
Times, Feb. 16th 2001, p. 8
Reports that the General Medical Council has rejected calls for independent bodies to judge and prosecute doctors facing serious misconduct charges. It has chosen instead to consult on a "Hearings Agency" to be run by its own staff, which would keep the prosecution and adjudication of doctors in-house. The Council also rejected calls for a fast track public tribunal for doctors accused of minor misdemeanours and sent the plans back for a rethink.
Health Service Journal, vol. 111, Feb. 8th 2001, p. 14
Reacting to allegations of sloth and bureaucracy, the General Medical Council is proposing creating a 20-25 member board with an elected chief executive presiding over a medically qualified majority and a larger "standing conference" with a 50% lay input and a lay chair. The British Medical Association and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges have challenged these plans. They want the council to shrink from its present 100-plus members to around 50, with 40% lay membership, and to establish a small executive of 10-15 members. They want the council to be sovereign with a medically qualified president elected either annually or after three years for a five year maximum term.
Public Finance, Jan. 19th-25th, p. 24-26
Explores the role of the new National Clinical Assessment Authority (NCAA) which will investigate alleged poor performance by doctors. Focuses on the NCAA's future relationship with the General Medical Council.