Two of the bodies responsible for dealing with deficient medical practitioners, the GMC and the NCAS, have agreed a set of five principles to support their communication and co-operation, with a view to improving patient safety and public protection through early intervention and proportionate response. The agreement can be accessed here.

The GMC’s employer liaison advisers (ELA) support medical managers in dealing with fitness to practise concerns and offer advice on issues including revalidation and thresholds for referral to the GMC. Where appropriate, ELAs suggest that medical directors and responsible officers engage with NCAS.

NCAS works to resolve concerns about the practice of doctors, dentists and pharmacists by providing case management services to health care organisations and to individual practitioners. It also advises on cases involving concerns about clinical practice, behaviour and health, and seeks to find a resolution through a range of interventions to facilitate a return to safe practice, where appropriate.  

The five principles are:  

  • To enhance patient safety and public protection
  • To deal with concerns, where appropriate, at the local level
  • The principal role of the GMC’s ELAs is to advise on fitness to practise issues, including the thresholds for referral and revalidation
  • The role of NCAS is to provide advice, support and a range of interventions to resolve concerns about a practitioner’s performance
  • To facilitate transparency of the functions of the GMC and NCAS

This joint agreement can be seen as symbolic of the two bodies’ desire to dovetail their functions, sharing appropriate information about trends, concerns, approaches and initiatives, in a concerted drive to support healthcare organisations and registered doctors to provide high quality patient care.