Faculty is pleased to see the publication of GMC research, 'Fair to Refer?'

25 June 2019

The Faculty is pleased to see the publication of new independent research into the rates of referral for different groups to the GMC, Fair to Refer? Reducing disproportionality in fitness to practise concerns reported to the GMC   The report noted that some groups are still disproportionately likely to be referred, including doctors who train overseas, BAME doctors, older male doctors, locums and some specialties (Intensive Care Medicine not among them).


The four key recommendations are:

1. Providing comprehensive support for doctors new to the UK or the NHS or whose role is likely to isolate them (including SAS doctors and locums)

2. Ensuring engaged and positive leadership more consistently across the NHS 5

3. Creating working environments that focus on learning and accountability rather than blame

4. Developing a programme of work to deliver, measure and evaluate the delivery of these recommendations


There are two main and important emphases from the report.  The first is about ensuring that doctors are appropriately supported, especially when new (both to a hospital or to the NHS entirely) – this includes management support, good inductions and support networks.  The Faculty, through the Careers, Recruitment & Workforce Committee has recently discussed how to help support doctors who have trained internationally as a new work stream and will be publishing a document series later in the year about staffing support in critical care.  The second emphasis, in line with the findings of the other recent independent research into GMC activities on gross negligence manslaughter and culpable homicide, is that the NHS needs to create working environments that promote responsibility and learning and not instigate a blame culture.  We are glad to see the GMC considering independent research of this kind to improve its processes and the conditions and support for all NHS doctors.