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GMC ‘Must Give Patients A Voice In Complaints Process’

Concerns Raised Over Body's Handling Of Issues


A medical negligence specialist at Irwin Mitchell has joined calls for the General Medical Council (GMC) to improve its level of response to the complaints it receives, after new figures revealed only 17 per cent of patient queries were investigated last year.

According to figures obtained by The Times, the research also revealed that just 11 doctors were struck off following patient complaints, while the public is not given the opportunity to appeal if the GMC decides not to continue the case.

Anita Jewitt, a solicitor and expert in medical law at Irwin Mitchell’s London office, represents victims and the families of those injured as a result of serious clinical negligence and medical errors. She helped client Carla Bradbrook secure justice against Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust over a series of serious care failings that led to the death of her son Joshua in 2005.

Despite major concerns being raised about the actions of the locum obstetrician who delivered Joshua at Darent Valley Hospital, the GMC refused to reopen its investigations because the doctor was ‘no cause for concern’.

Commenting on this issue, Anita Jewitt said: “Carla’s case raises serious concerns over how the GMC handle complaints – concerns only exacerbated by the figures which have been released today.

“In so many of our cases, our clients simply want answers as to what went wrong and reassurances that the same thing will not happen to anyone else.

“There is a very real worry that many patient complaints to the GMC are simply falling on deaf ears and we hope that the organisation is able to fully assess the systems it has in place to ensure that complaints are given the full attention they deserve.

“Transparency is key and we hope that a reform of the complaints process will ensure that health professionals are held to account in a fair and proper manner. This issue simply cannot be ignored and we will continue to campaign until victims of negligence get the answers they deserve.”