Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley, to announce new powers for the GMC
04 Oct 2011
In his address to the Conservative Party Conference Andrew Lansley will today commit to changing the Medical Act, as well as creating a better system to make sure employers in England only take on doctors who are competent and up to date.
This is good news for patients - the Secretary of State's announcement will mean much more protection for patients throughout the UK.
Welcoming the announcement today, the Chief Executive of the General Medical Council, Niall Dickson, said:
'This is good news for patients - the Secretary of State's announcement will mean much more protection for patients throughout the UK. The government is now committed both to changing the Medical Act, giving the GMC new powers, as well as creating a better system to make sure employers in England only take on doctors who are competent and up to date.
'Patients in the UK must have confidence that the doctor who treats them has the communication skills needed for the job and that the GMC can take action when they do not have those skills. Until today we had a glaring hole in our regulatory defences - the government has now signalled this will be closed so that doctors coming from the European Union can communicate to the standard required of all other doctors on our register.
'The measures the Secretary of State has unveiled mark the culmination of many months' hard work and commitment to close this loophole in UK law, which has been causing so much concern to patients and their families up and down the country.
'We also welcome moves to make it a legal duty for Responsible Officers to check the communication and clinical skills of doctors and report back to the GMC before they take up a post within the health service in England. As the UK regulator, we are also working with, and have the support of, the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to makes these changes to ensure that patients across all parts of the UK are fully protected.
'While the GMC's Council has been pushing for these changes for some time, we have been very grateful for the continued support of Stuart and Rory Gray. They have campaigned relentlessly with us for these changes since the tragic death of their father. We hope that today's news will provide them some comfort. We will now work with the Department of Health in England and the devolved administrations to make these changes as quickly as possible.'