Government scraps independent medical adjudicator

09 December 2010

The Government has announced that the independent Office of the Health Professions Adjudicator (OHPA) is to be abolished and the GMC is to retain overall responsibility for adjudication in cases involving doctors.

The move follows a public consultation on the future of the OHPA which was established following recommendations made by the Shipman Inquiry.

Niall Dickson, the Chief Executive of the General Medical Council, said: "We welcome the Government's decision. We are committed to taking forward a programme of major reform to create an efficient and modern adjudication function which operates independently from our other work.

"We plan to separate entirely our investigation activity and the presentation of cases from adjudication by creating a new tribunal service. This will have its own Chair, appointed through an independent process, who will report directly to Parliament on an annual basis."

He went on to say that the new approach will save doctors and taxpayers millions of pounds but will also deliver tangible benefits, to assure both doctors and the public that the system is fair and proportionate as well as providing good value for money.

OHPA chair, Walter Merricks said: "OHPA offered genuinely independent adjudications in a reformed system, operating across all health and social care professions. Given that [it] was a key recommendation of the Shipman Inquiry, it is regrettable that the government has decided not to proceed with the OHPA programme."

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