Taxpayers face big bills for dealing with GP's misconduct

Denis Campbell, health correspondent, Monday 11 May 2009

Family doctors accused of misconduct are being suspended from treating patients for up to four and a half years and costing taxpayers as much as £900,000 for each case, the NHS has revealed.

The disclosures have sparked demands for the doctors' disciplinary system to be speeded up so more money can be spent on frontline health services and less on paying GPs barred from working.

Figures provided by primary care trusts (PCTs) in England show that 134 GPs have been suspended over the last three years at a cost of £8.2m. That only takes into account their pay – any suspended GP receives 90% of their normal salary – so the real costs to the PCTs will be higher, including the costs of hiring replacements and pursuing the complaints.

The details, obtained by the Liberal Democrats under the Freedom of Information Act from 108 of England's 152 PCTs, have been passed to the Guardian.

Norman Lamb, the party's health spokesman, said: "These figures are scandalous, involve a huge waste of public money and show that the system of pursuing allegations against doctors is failing."

Full article in the Guardian
'Scandal' of £1.2m for suspended NHS staff

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