HC Deb 18 July 1995 vol 263 cc1139-40W
25. Mr. Bayley

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how NHS doctors are held accountable for the quality of their clinical practice. [33205]

Mr. Malone

The medical profession is governed by self-regulation and the General Medical Council has been given the powers it needs to perform this task. The General Medical Council already has powers to erase, suspend or attach conditions to a doctor's registration in cases of serious misconduct. Under the terms of the Medical (Professional Performance) Bill currently being considered in another place, the General Medical Council will be able to suspend or attach conditions to a doctor's registration in cases of seriously deficient professional performance.

Members of the profession know what standard should be met. Advice and guidance is available to doctors from the General Medical Council in the form of its "blue book"—"Professional Conduct and Discipline: Fitness to Practise."

The medical royal colleges are responsible for setting the standards for postgraduate medical training and influence clinical standards by, for instance, publishing protocols for the management of common conditions.

In addition, doctors employed in the national health service are held accountable in a variety of ways. Junior doctors are accountable to their consultants for their clinical actions. Consultants in most trusts will be accountable to a clinical director for their medical competence. They are also accountable through the NHS procedures for complaints and disciplinary action for poor performance. These procedures may lead to the doctor's suspension or termination of contract.