Opinion Former Article

MDU reassured by GMC approach to regulation during pandemic as new guidance issued

The Medical Defence Union (MDU), the UK’s leading medical defence organisation, is supporting members with a surge in regulatory investigations since the GMC restarted its processes in July. Some cases relate to issues around the pandemic and the MDU says it welcomes today’s publication of guidance for the GMC’s decision makers on how such complaints will be assessed.

Dr Caroline Fryar, head of advisory services at the MDU, said:

“We have been working with the GMC to ensure it adopts a proportionate approach to regulation during the pandemic and acknowledges the extraordinary circumstances faced by our members. Doctors have been working in hugely challenging situations and with Covid-19 cases rising, we are certainly not out of the woods yet.

“We are pleased to see the publication of today’s guidance for decision making staff as it is vital that the GMC only opens full investigations where absolutely necessary. When assessing a doctor's fitness to practise during the pandemic, the GMC will take into account issues such as staff working in unfamiliar settings, availability of PPE and the difficulties caused by wearing it, the disproportionate impact of the disease on doctors from black and minority ethic (BME) backgrounds, and the challenges of working with changing and sometimes conflicting guidance.

“The publication of the guidance is well timed because, since the GMC restarted its investigations in July, we have seen an influx of cases. Almost 25% of GMC cases this year to date have come to us in the last month. We are busy supporting these doctors and hope they and their colleagues will be reassured by today’s announcement.

“Whilst the GMC’s recognition of the impact of the pandemic is reassuring, some of the complaints facing our members also have the potential to become clinical negligence claims which is why it is vital that the government acts to ensure all NHS healthcare professionals are exempt from Covid-19 related litigation, and the additional distress and anxiety it inevitably causes.”


The MDU is a not-for-profit organisation wholly dedicated to our members’ interests. Our team is led and staffed by doctors with real-life experience of the pressures and challenges faced in practice.

We offer our members expert guidance, personal support and robust defence in addressing medico-legal issues, complaints and claims. Our customised services range from legal assistance to indemnity to appropriate CPD.


Dawn Boyall, Jessica Hammonds, Fernanda Nidecker in the MDU’s press office

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