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Significant surge in warnings given to doctors

28 September 2010

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There has been a 50% hike in the number of formal reprimands given to doctors in the UK, data reveal.

A Freedom of Information request by the BBC shows that the General Medical Council (GMC) issued 262 warnings last year, compared with 179 in 2007.

The warnings, which are for offences that do not deserve being suspended or struck off, were given out for offences such as: assaults, breaches of the peace, disorderly behaviour and driving without tax, insurance or a licence.

Drink-driving was another issue punished by the warnings, with more than 130 cases last year involving health professionals.

The GMC said the findings would be thoroughly investigated, explaining that the growth is likely to have been impacted by the number of referrals from public officials such as NHS staff and police.

A spokesman said that the GMC would carefully consider all cases “where public trust in the profession could be damaged” and added: “The numbers still represent a very small proportion of the 230,000 registered doctors in the UK.”

Copyright © Press Association 2010