Thursday 4 February 2016

Managing conflicts of interest of regulators on RCGP Faculty board

Prof Steve Field, Midland Faculty board member and Chief Inspector of General Practice "said that what he had found made him ‘ashamed’ of his own profession" and "that we’ve failed as a profession" - Daily Mail, 12 December 2015.

This evening, Bill Strange and I presented the following motion to RCGP Midland Faculty board which we had written with Mary McCarthy:

  1. “Senior employees of organisations whose main purpose is inspection and regulation to which a significant number of members of Midland Faculty are subject should be excluded from discussions and votes of the board of Midland Faculty RCGP, unless specifically requested by a majority of board members.”
  2. “Any board member who publicly presents a position that is perceived by a significant proportion of our members as being antagonistic and inflammatory, such that the role of the board might be questioned by our members, should be removed from the board.”
The motion was not carried. 11 voted against, 6 for and 1 abstained in a secret ballot.
Prof Field had submitted his apologies for the meeting.

We had set out our arguments in this accompanying paper.

Points of discussion included:
  • Unanimous disapproval of Prof Field's reported comments
  • Unanimous disapproval of CQC's approach to inspection in general practice, causing more disruption than benefit for the majority of practices as a result of a failure to target failing practices
  • Unanimous disapproval of CQC's "Intelligent Monitoring" data publication
  • Unanimous condemnation of CQC's failure to celebrate success as it had promised
Arguments against the motion included:
  • Might Prof Field behaviour have breached the RCGP members' code of conduct, which would be a matter for RCGP Hon. Sec. rather than a Faculty. (Any complaint must be made within 3 months of matter in question)
  • Adopting this as policy would require approval by RCGP Council, a process that could be exceptionally lengthy
  • Concern that reacting to a specific case was not the best way to make policy
  • Concern that point 1 could include members whose work includes regulation
  • Concern that point 2 amounted to censorship
If anyone else present at the meeting has a different recollection, do please leave details in a comment below.

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