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MPS “dismayed” with plans to lower standard of proof

28 August 2007

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The Medical Protection Society (MPS) has backed the British Medical Association, saying that introducing a flexible civil standard of proof will increase the amount of unjustified legal action brought against doctors.

The MPS vigorously oppose the General Medical Council’s plans to lower the standard of proof in medical litigation cases to that which uses “the balance of probabilities”.

Medical Director of the MPS Dr Priya Singh said: “We are dismayed that the GMC has not heeded the groundswell of anxiety within the profession about the change in the standard of proof.

“A change to the system which increases the likelihood of a finding of impaired fitness to practice with the consequence that is effectively the end of that doctor’s career is not an appropriate nor proportionate way to protect the public.

“Instead of stigmatising the doctors with a finding of impaired fitness to practice for less serious issues the GMC should instead focus on training and rehabilitation where that is necessary.”

Dr Singh believes that the changing the standard of proof will result in panels “prejudging” outcomes.

“We anticipate that much time, effort and legal costs will be incurred in trying to ensure a fair system of regulation.”

Related story: GMC plans to lower standard of proof