Thursday, 26 April 2012

Mr Paul Philip from GMC and his policy on locum doctors and private practise

Doctors4Justice wrote to Mr Paul Philip at the General Medical Council to ask him a couple of questions about his policy for investigations of complaints against doctors. The policy we identified which in our opinion is a policy of indirect racial discrimination (against locum doctors as the majority are from ethnic minorities) and against private practitioners (against private enterprise, I guess). The policy essentially, states that those who are in private practice or locum doctors must be investigated immediately by GMC if there is a complaint against such a practitioner while other doctors can be referred to the local procedures (i.e. National Health Service i.e. state trusts to investigate). For several months Mr Paul Philip could not be contacted.


Mr Paul Philip never replied to us but here is Ms Rowland defending him. This is what she wrote:


Locum doctors

Dear Dr Bright

Thank you for your email to Paul Philip which has been passed to me to reply. My role includes responsibility for fitness to practise policy.

I have not been able to ascertain when or if a policy of referring peripatetic locums directly for a full investigation applied but I can confirm that this has not been our policy since our present rules were introduced in 2004. Since then, peripatetic locums are treated in the same way as any other doctor. If the nature of the concern raised would if proved, in and of itself, require us to take action then the case is referred to Stream 1. A matter which, in and of itself, would not require action but might do so if part of a wider pattern of concerns is referred into Stream 2. If the case meets neither of these criteria it would be closed on initial assessment.

I hope this is helpful.


Anna Rowland
Assistant Director, Policy and Planning
Standards & Fitness to Practise

From: Dr Helen Bright
Sent: 12 April 2012 13:58
To: Lisa Bird (020 7189 5130)
Subject: Re: FW: Stream 1 for locum doctors

Dear Ms Bird,

Thank you for attaching helpfully the reply from Ms Rowland. I did receive it previously and what she wrote is in defense but not the answers to my questions and there has been nothing coming from Mr Philip who appears completely unwilling to take responsibility for his policy making.

Is it possible for Mr Philip to take the responsibility for his policy and come clean with the answer to this question: Has the GMC  policy been changed now or not? It is a simple question and if I do not receive the answer promptly I shall assume that he is not wiling to change it and that it is current GMC policy regarding investigations of locum doctors.

Please, come back to me by the end of the day.

Kind regards,

On Thu, Apr 12, 2012 at 1:28 PM, Lisa Bird  wrote:
Dear Dr Bright

Further to my acknowledgment, from looking at our records I see that Anna Rowland, Assistant Director – Policy and Planning, responded on 19 August 2011 to your email of 12 August 2011 about locum doctors. I have attached a copy for ease of reference.

Yours sincerely

Lisa Bird
Correspondence and Complaints Co-ordinator
Standards and Fitness to Practise Directorate
From: Dr Helen Bright
Sent: Thursday, April 12, 2012 12:51 PM
To: Paul Philip
Subject: Re: Stream 1 for locum doctors
Dear Mr Philip,

It is many months since I sent the email below and I still do not have the answer. Is it possible, please, to answer the straight questions in the straight manner?
On Fri, Aug 12, 2011 at 6:30 PM, Dr Helen Bright <> wrote:
Dear Mr Philip,

1. Could you tell me, please, if complaints against locum doctors are still treated as Stream 1 Complaints as per attached policy? If not when did the policy change?

2. How was this particular aspect of your policy monitored?

Yours sincerely,

Dr Helen Bright

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