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Fresh review into ‘doctors being bullied with regulatory referrals’

Investigators have begun a further review of how a major trust handles disciplinary and professional standards cases, including allegations leaders had targeted some doctors with referrals to the medical regulator, HSJ has learned.

The claims were part of a raft of concerns raised about University Hospitals Birmingham Foundation Trust over recent months, including BBC Newsnight reporting that a large number of General Medical Council referrals had led to no action; and claims of whistleblowing doctors “being bullied… by the threat of referrals to the GMC”.

One external review of UHB, whose report was published in March, already examined the issue, and said it had identified 17 cases which contradicted Newsnight’s claim, with two referrals resulting in criminal conviction and removal from the medical register.

It said there was “nothing exceptional” about the referral numbers or types at UHB, or their outcomes, but also noted that medical staff told the review about “dysfunctional processes for maintaining higher professional standards”, and “expressed a perception that there was a rather rapid process to escalate to a GMC referral”.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: HSJ, 21 June 2023


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