I have been pretty scathing on this blog about the General Medical Council, and it’s chief executive, Niall Dickson, and I’ve highlighted cases where the GMC has behaved with vindictiveness, pettiness, inconsistency, and a total disregard for justice, or legal safeguards such as the Human Rights Act.
But it has to be acknowledged that sometimes individual doctors do cross the line and, as a group, we have the full range of villains just as people in other areas. I don’t assert we don’t need a regulatory body, we obviously do, but we need one as impartial, consistent, competent, and fair as possible, and it is here that the GMC often falls short.
But the GMC does get it right once in a while, as it did when it erased Andrew Wakefield.
Mr Dickson too can’t be wrong all the time, and this story is one such, concerning a GP who introduced religion into a medical consultation. No-one wants to stop doctors talking enthusiastically about their religious beliefs if they have them, but at the best of times they have little place in this setting. And to use phrases like “the devil haunts those who do not turn to jesus” is simply inexcusable. Just plain wrong.
The GMC have issued the GP in question a warning, and quite right too. So for once, when Mr Dickson said “This is not about religion. It is about respecting patients and making sure doctors do not use the incredibly privileged position they hold to push their own beliefs.” I have to say I agree with him.