ALMOST 20,000 Scottish doctors will have to prove they are fit to practice under a new scheme by the General Medical Council (GMC).
The GMS is to write to every hospital and community doctor to warn them of the move , which is designed to weed out misdiagnoses and patients being given outdated treatment.
Doctors will have to face feedback from patients and colleagues on how they are doing their job as part of the plan, known as “revalidation.”
Every doctor will have to provide evidence to the GMC to demonstrate they are providing a high standard of care and they meet training requirements.
The new checks, which will be mailed to doctors this week, will likely be made every five years.
Doctors who do not meet the requirements could be removed from the register.
GMC chief executive Niall Dickson said: “Some doctors are, understandably, apprehensive about this but this is about assuring
patients that doctors who treat them are able to do their job.
“Medical advances mean the capacity for doctors to do good is greater than ever, conversely the capacity to harm is also greater.”
The GMC says the process, which is the first time doctors have had to face any sort of ongoing assessment, is long overdue.
Doctors will have to collect feedback from at least 34 of their patients and 15 colleagues under the plan.
2010 proved to be a bumper year for doctors being struck off, 92 were erased from the register of doctors, the highest ever.
A Scottish GP, who did not want to be named, warned doctors were unlikely to be honest in the revalidation assessments.
He said: “It will be easy enough to withhold information.
“Even worse, it could be used in legal cases by patients unhappy with care.”
The British Medical Association, which represents doctors, says it is concerned about several aspects of the scheme.
The new scheme comes after the GMC said it is dealing with a record number of complaints against doctors.
It received 7,153 complainst in 2010, up from 5,773 in 2009. The regulator launched more than 2,000 investigations in 2010, 18-percent more than in 2009.
In March this year a doctor who worked in an Aberdeen hospital was struck off after botching two C-section operations.
Dr Osamudiame Giwa-Osagie was removed from the register after the GMC found the two women could have lost their lives due to bleeding heavily.