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Doctors urged to "shop" colleagues

30 October, 2000

Doctors must break the "culture of silence" and be prepared to "shop" colleagues who are not fit to practice, reports BBC News.

Dr John Garner, the chairman of the British Medical Association's Scottish council, spoke out after the General Medical Council's professional conduct committee struck off an doctor who was in charge of anaesthesia during a procedure where a 10 year old boy died of a heart attack during a routine tooth extraction.

Dr John Evans-Appiah, who worked as a locum, was barred from practising with immediate effect by committee for what was described as a "catalogue of blunders". These also included not anaesthetising properly a woman before a caesarean birth.

Dr Ian Bogle, Chairman of the National BMA Council said :

"In April last year the BMA supported a call from the Audit Commission to tighten up procedures on the employment of locums. At the time we said that action is needed to provide effective supervision and careers guidance for such doctors early in their careers since otherwise they tend to become permanent locums without access to proper training and study leave. The inclusion of rigorous methods for assessing the competence of locum doctors will be an important test of the General Medical Council's proposals for revalidation of doctors. When doctors are moving from post to post, often for short periods of employment, quality checks on their competence are absolutely vital."