Negligence Lawyer Welcomes Reforms To Regularly Assess Doctors

Doctors Five-Year Checks Planned for 2012


A medical negligence lawyer at Irwin Mitchell has welcomed reforms suggested by the House of Commons Health Committee to frequently assess if doctors are fit to practice.

The recommendations, designed to prevent a repeat of the Shipman murders, come after a committee report found that identifying potentially dangerous doctors is often seen as an “almost insignificant part” of the appraisal process.

Currently, doctors can go their whole career without facing any formal assessment of their competency. The General Medical Council (GMC) hopes to change this by introducing "revalidation" - a process that would see doctors being assessed throughout their careers - by the end of 2012.

This would take the form of annual appraisal and a fuller meeting every five years in which doctors would be asked to demonstrate they meet clinical standards and were up to date on medical developments.

Rachelle Mahapatra, a Partner in Irwin Mitchell’s Clinical Negligence team, said: “It is vital that the release of this new report leads to action on the number of issues that it raises in relation to regulating doctors. 

“So many of the cases we deal with emerge as a result of errors that are avoidable, and it is time that lessons are learnt and that steps are taken to help prevent any further terrible tragedies such as those seen under Dr Harold Shipman. “

Todmorden GP Shipman, from Hyde in Greater Manchester, murdered more than 200 people over a period of 23 years.