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Fairness and the GMC: doctors views

What were the key findings?

The study explored the views and perceptions of doctors across four key areas: general views of the GMC, registration, revalidation and fitness to practise. Responses were analysed to determine if there were significant differences in the views depending on doctors’ ethnicity, place of medical qualification and gender. 

Key findings included that:

  • the majority of doctors were fairly or very confident in way we regulate doctors (79%) and the way we protect the health and safety of the public (85%)
  • levels of overall confidence in us varied by ethnicity and place of qualification. Black and minority ethnic (BME) doctors had greater confidence in us than white doctors. And non-UK qualified doctors had greater confidence than UK qualified doctors
  • the majority of doctors thought the registration process (95%), revalidation (81%) fitness to practise investigations (81%) and outcomes (89%) were fair for the majority of doctors
  • the majority of BME doctors and non-UK qualified doctors did, though, think that some groups of doctors may be more likely than others to be treated unfairly in these processes. Where doctors felt that some groups may be at risk of receiving unfair treatment, three groups were most commonly identified: non-UK qualified, BME and older doctors.

Why did we commission this research?

Being fair and objective is crucial to us. To help us understand how doctors think we are doing in this respect, we commissioned NatCen Social Research – an independent not-for-profit research organisation  to do a study exploring doctor’s view of us and whether those views differ depending on certain characteristics.

What did the research involve?

The research employed a two stage design. The first stage involved a small number of qualitative focus groups and interviews to understand the range and nature of views and perceptions held by doctors. The first stage helped to to inform the second: a large-scale quantitative survey of a randomly sampled group of doctors. The survey explored the prevalence of the views and perceptions expressed and whether the views of BME doctors differ from the views of white doctors.

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Fairness and the GMC: doctors’ views