One of the pleasures of retirement from medical practice is not being on the General Medical Council (GMC) register. If you were able to listen in on many doctors private conversations, and run some Google word analytics, the word you might find in closest proximity to the term General Medical Council (GMC) would be loathe. There would be other less polite words, too. As the BMJ once wrote: there is very little in British medicine that the GMC cannot make worse. It is a legalised extortion racket that fails to protect the public, messes up medical education and makes many doctors’ lives miserable.
The following are quotes from the Lancet and the FT. They are about the horrendous crimes perpetrated by a surgeon, Ian Paterson. The full Independent Inquiry report can be found here. I am not surprised by anything I have read in the investigation into these crimes and the attacks on those who attempted to draw attention to them.
Health-care workers reporting concerns often come under substantial pressure from health-care management, and sometimes have to justify their own practice and reasons for speaking out. Four of the health-care professionals who did report Paterson were subject to fitness to practice scrutiny by the GMC during the later investigation because they had worked alongside him
The FT draws up some lessons. Here is number four:
The fourth lesson is that those who speak up are likely to suffer. Some of Paterson’s colleagues were worried about his practices. When six doctors raised concerns with the chief executive of the NHS trust where Paterson worked, four were themselves investigated by the General Medical Council because they had worked with him.
Maybe after clapping this Thursday evening people need to take a long hard look at the culture of NHS governance and its proxies in the UK. Pandemics just open up the cracks of incompetence that are hidden in plain sight.