Do you know who the General Medical Council (GMC) are? Do you know what their role is?
The GMC is a regulator for Doctors. Only Doctors on the GMC register can work in the UK either as a GP or hospital doctor in the NHS or private sector.
The GMC sets standards, oversees the education and training of doctors and makes sure that every doctor with a licence to practice medicine in the UK is competent and up to date.
At a local level, every doctor now has a responsible officer – a senior doctor who makes sure the doctors are meeting the GMC standards including keeping their skills and knowledge up to date.
Trust lies at the heart of the relationship between doctors and patients and, for the vast majority of people, this works well. However where a patient or relative does have a concern or complaint about a doctors practice or behaviour, these can usually be settled locally. If a doctor is found not to be safe to practice and should not work in another hospital or GP practice – that is when the GMC will take action.
The GMC is independent of government but accountable to the UK Parliament and is paid for by the registration of doctors to practice.
On www.gmc-uk.org/guidance you can learn about the standards expected from your doctors, you can find out when and where your doctor qualified and whether they have completed specialist training and read about cases where the GMC has had to take action to protect patients.
Do you think that the GMC publicizes its role enough? Have you ever made contact with the GMC? Why? Was it to look up your doctor or was it because you had a concern? What else would you like to see the GMC do? Let us know your views.