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Doctors complaints about doctors

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Dear General Medical Council,

Please provide a list of the 20 doctors who have raised the most complaints about other doctors, from 1990 to present.

Please disregard all doctors have have reported 2 or less doctors, or who have filed less than 4 complaints in total.

Please include doctors no longer registered, struck off, retired, or not currently practicing.

I understand you have previously released information naming doctors who were the most investigated doctors, regardless of whether those investigations were upheld, so please provide a list of the doctors who file the greatest number of GMC complaints.

I would like the information to include:
1 Number of doctors each doctor complained about

2 Clinical specialty/specialties of the doctor eg surgeon, paediatrician, psychiatrist

3 NHS trust or private practice area of that doctor

4 Number of complaints made by that doctor (if a single complaint includes requesting the investigation of several doctors please count this as one complaint if possible)

5 Number of fitness for practice headings resulting from those complaints and type of sanctions resulting from complaints, and the number of complaints dismissed without GMC investigation / investigation deemed not necessary

6 Date of first complaint filed since 1990 for each of the doctors who filed complaints

7 Any information on possible retaliatory complaints eg the complained about doctor then files a complaint about the person who reported them

8 Whether any doctor has had a warning, sanction, or restriction etc for excessively or maliciously making a series of unfounded complaints about other doctors, and if so how many.

Yours faithfully,

anon

FOI, General Medical Council

Thank you for getting in touch. Please note this is an automated email.

 

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can with a further acknowledgement.
You’ll usually hear from us on the next working day, but it might take a
little longer during busy periods.

 

In the meantime, if you want any further information about the GMC, please
visit our website.

 

 

Thank you

 

Information access team

General Medical Council

Email: [GMC request email]

Telephone: 0161 923 6365

Working with doctors Working for patients

The General Medical Council helps to protect patients and improve medical
education and practice in the UK by setting standards for students and
doctors. We support them in achieving (and exceeding) those standards, and
take action when they are not met.

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FOI, General Medical Council

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

Thank you for your email dated 16 August.

 

So that we can consider your request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (FOIA) please provide your true name.  For a request to be valid,
section 8(1)(b) of the FOIA requires that a request for information must
include the name of the applicant. Until we have received this information
we won’t consider your request.

 

If you have any queries about this, please contact me on the details
below.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Lauren Barrowcliffe

Information Access Team Assistant

 

[1][email address]

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

 

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Dear FOI,

My name is Mx Slack (Mx being a gender neutral title). As per the information here, a title and surname is considered adequate for a request.

Yours sincerely,

Mx Slack

FOI, General Medical Council

Thank you for getting in touch. Please note this is an automated email.

 

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can with a further acknowledgement.
You’ll usually hear from us on the next working day, but it might take a
little longer during busy periods.

 

In the meantime, if you want any further information about the GMC, please
visit our website.

 

 

Thank you

 

Information access team

General Medical Council

Email: [GMC request email]

Telephone: 0161 923 6365

Working with doctors Working for patients

The General Medical Council helps to protect patients and improve medical
education and practice in the UK by setting standards for students and
doctors. We support them in achieving (and exceeding) those standards, and
take action when they are not met.

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FOI, General Medical Council

Dear Mx Slack,

Your information request - F19/10330/MM

Thank you for your email which confirmed your name dated 20 August. In
your request email you ask for a list of the 20 doctors who have raised
the most complaints about other doctors, from 1990 to present and other
information you would like us to include.

 

How we will consider your request

We’re going to consider your request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (FOIA). The FOIA gives us 20 working days to respond, but we’ll come
back to you as soon as we can.

 

Who to contact

Matt McCoig-Lees will be handling your request. If you have any questions
you can call him on 0161 923 6579 or email him at
[1][email address].

 

Yours sincerely

 

Lauren Barrowcliffe
Information Access Team Assistant

 

[2][email address]

0161 240 8356

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

 

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Matthew McCoig-Lees (0161 923 6579), General Medical Council

Dear Mx Slack

 

I write further to previous correspondence with a substantive response
under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000. This email contains
responses to your requests with reference numbers  F19/10330/MM and
F19/10331/MM. I will respond to them in numeric order.

 

F19/10330/MM

 

I am applying an exemption to your request in full because of the amount
of work it would take to process. Under the FOIA there is an exemption for
requests where it would cost the public authority more than £450 to
process- equivalent to two and half days’ work.

 

Our current electronic database was introduced around 2006. We do not have
electronic records going back to 1990. The only way that we would be able
to answer your questions would be to do a manual check of all FTP cases
which are not recorded electronically.

 

As a starting point, we would have to manually review every complaint of
every year where there are no electronic records and this would take a
massive amount of time. To take one year, in 1997 there were 2687
complaints. If it took 10 minutes per complaint (and it may well take
significantly longer) it would take over 447 hours to review each
complaint to get the information you want from it. Based on an hourly rate
of £25 per hour (which is set by the Freedom of Information (Fees and
Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004 ) this would cost us over £11,000. The
total cost of your request would therefore cost us significantly in excess
of the ‘appropriate limit’ to process.

 

The exemption

 

Under the FOIA, the specific exemption which we believe applies is at
section 12. This states that we are not required to comply with a request
if we estimate that the cost of doing so would exceed the appropriate
limit.

 

Advice and Assistance

 

We are obliged to offer you advice and assistance to make a request which
would not attract a costs exemption.

 

I believe we could provide answers to all of your questions apart from
question seven for the last three years for the most prolific 10 doctors.

 

In order to do this I would also need to understand if your question is
asking about doctors who refer other doctors to the GMC in their
professional capacity (for example as the Responsible Officer for an NHS
Trust) or if you mean in a private capacity.

 

F19/10331/MM

 

Your request was for information on the fitness to practice guidance
relating to whether certain practices are allowed or not.

 

To the extent that there is guidance which falls in the scope of your
request it is available on our [1]website. Particularly relevant will be
Good Medical Practice. It is not for me to comment on whether practices
are addressed by any of the guidance published.

 

Your right to appeal

 

I'm sorry I couldn’t provide the information you requested in relation to
F19/10330/MM . If you would like to appeal this decision to Julian Graves,
Information Access Manager, please set out your reasons in writing by
email to [GMC request email]. Please note that we will only usually consider
appeals received within 40 working days of our response. You can also
appeal to the Information Commissioner, the regulator of the FOIA and DPA.

 

Kind Regards

 

Matt

 

Matthew McCoig-Lees

Information Access Officer

Information Access Team

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

Email: [2][email address]

Website: [3]www.gmc-uk.org

Tel: 0161 923 6579

 

 

Working with doctors Working for patients

The General Medical Council helps to protect patients and improve medical
education and practice in the UK by setting standards for students and
doctors. We support them in achieving (and exceeding) those standards, and
take action when they are not met.

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Dear Matthew McCoig-Lees (0161 923 6579),

Please just do from 1st January 2010 to 31st December 2019, ie a 10 year period. All these records are electronic so the exemption for time taken should not apply. If it were to take an hour for each year to be looked at, it should taken 10hrs only, which is well below the time limit.

As regards your question about capacity, please include those referring to the GMC in both a private capacity and as a responsible officer for the trust.

Yours sincerely,

anon

Matthew McCoig-Lees (0161 923 6579), General Medical Council

I am out of the office Monday 23 December 2019 - Monday 6 January 2020
inclusive.

 

While I am away I will have no access to my emails, they are not
automatically forwarded and no one will access them on my behalf.

If your query is urgent please phone 0161 923 6579 or email [GMC request email]
and a team member will assist you.

Please note that if you are submitting a new information request to this
email address while I am away, the start date for determining the deadline
for a response will not begin until it is read on my return. Please email
it to [GMC request email].

Please be aware I may have a number of emails to respond to upon my return
but I will reply as soon as I can.

 

Thank you.

 

 

Working with doctors Working for patients

The General Medical Council helps to protect patients and improve medical
education and practice in the UK by setting standards for students and
doctors. We support them in achieving (and exceeding) those standards, and
take action when they are not met.

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FOI, General Medical Council

Dear Mx Slack,

Your information request – IR1-2579484976

Thank you for your email which was received 7 January. In your email you
ask for a list of the top 20 doctors who have raised the most complaints
about other doctors form January 2010 to 31 December 2019.

 

How we will consider your request

We’re going to consider your request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (FOIA). The FOIA gives us 20 working days to respond, but we’ll come
back to you as soon as we can.

 

Who to contact

Sadie Jones will be handling your request. If you have any questions you
can call her on 0161 250 6889 or email her at [1][email address].

 

Yours sincerely

 

Lauren Barrowcliffe

Information Access Team Assistant

 

[email address]

0161 240 8356

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

 

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Sadie Jones (0161 250 6889), General Medical Council

Dear Mx Slack

 

I am writing regarding your request made on the 1 January 2020. I have
been working on your request, however before I can respond to your
request, please could you clarify the below points:

 

o Question 1 – Is this in relation to doctors who refer other doctors to
the GMC in their professional capacity (for example as the Responsible
Officer for an NHS Trust) or do you mean doctors who make a complaint
in a private capacity.

o Question 2 – Is this the specialty of the complaining doctor, or the
doctor who has been complained about?
o Question 3 – Does this mean the NHS Trust or private practice are of
the complaining doctor, or the doctor who has been complained about?
And also, is this the incident location, or where they are currently
working?
o Question 4 – Is this the number complains made by the complaining
doctor, or the doctor who has been complained about?
o Question 6 – Is this in relation to the complaining doctor, or the
doctor who has been complained about?

 

I would appreciate if you could you respond to me by the 7 February, so
that I can continue to look into your request and respond appropriately.

 

Yours sincerely

Sadie Jones

Information Access Officer

[1][email address]

0161 250 6889

 

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

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Dear Sadie Jones (0161 250 6889),

In response to your questions,

Q1. I previously answered this - please include those referring to the GMC in both a private capacity and as a responsible officer for the trust.

Q2. & Q3. For the doctor raising the complaint. Include Incident location - where the complained about doctor was working at that time, and location of the doctor raising the complaint eg NHS trust name, University, Private health care hospital name, for doctors in a small private practice the name of the city / town or county for rural practices, or the business name for online only doctors.

Q4. the number complaints made by the complaining
doctor

Q6. retaliation aimed at the doctor raising the complaints
Yours sincerely,

Mx S.

Sadie Jones (0161 250 6889), General Medical Council

Dear Mx Slack

 

Your information access request - IR1-2579484976

 

Thank you for your email dated 7 January 2020 asking for information about
doctors who have made the most complaints about other doctors from January
2010 to 31 December 2019. I’ve considered your request under the Freedom
of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

 

I can’t provide the information you requested because of the amount of
data you’ve asked for and the work that would be involved to extract it.
Under the FOIA there’s an exemption for requests where it would cost the
public authority more than £450 to process - equivalent to two and half
days’ work.

 

The cost of your request

 

To estimate the cost we can take into account determining, locating,
retrieving and extracting the information requested. In order to answer
question 7 & 8 of your request, we would need to manually check through
the details of each record to confirm if it’s within the scope of your
request.

 

Question 7

 

In order to identify any ‘possible retaliatory’ complaints, we would be
required to conduct a manual search on each doctors record as we do not
hold any structured data on this. Retaliatory complaints may be made under
pseudonyms or by a different individual on behalf on the complained about
doctors, so we would need to look into all complaints further to assess
this.

 

Even if it only took us 1 hour per doctor, to review each of the ‘top 20’
doctors records, and to cross check this with the records of the doctors
that they had made complaints about, establishing whether we might hold
any ‘retaliatory’ complaints would take us at least at least 20
hours. Based on an hourly rate of £25 per hour (which is set by the
Freedom of Information (Fees and Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004) this
would cost us around £500 to process. This question alone would therefore
cost us in excess of the ‘appropriate limit’ to process. 

 

Question 8

 

Again, this information is not stored in a structured format. The only way
for us to identify whether a case outcome related to excessive or
malicious complaints would be to manually check case outcomes. I have used
data gathered for a previous FOIA request and identified at least 43
complaints (between 2015-2017) where the:

o allegation type is ‘Respect for colleagues’ or ‘Working with
colleagues’
o relates to bullying or harassment
o has an outcome and where sanctions were imposed

To determine whether these decisions related to malicious or excessive
complaints, I would need to review each case, which would take a minimum
of 30 minutes per case, at least 72 hours in total. Based on an hourly
rate of £25 per hour (which is set by the Freedom of Information (Fees and
Appropriate Limit) Regulations 2004) this would cost us at least £1,800
for the 2-year period of 2015-2017. If we make an estimate based on these
numbers, 10 years would cost approximately £9,000. Therefore, this would
cost us significantly excess of the ‘appropriate limit’ to process. 

 

To check our records for outcomes that relate to a complaint of a
malicious nature, we would need to conduct a significantly wider search to
capture as much as possible.

 

The exemption

 

Under the FOIA, the specific exemption which we believe applies is at
section 12. This states that we are not required to comply with a request
if we estimate that the cost of doing so would exceed the appropriate
limit. As your email is compiled of a number of related requests, we have
aggregated these together.

 

Advice and assistance

 

The ICO guidance advises that requests can be aggregated where they are
‘to any extent’ the same or similar, or where there is an overarching
there or common thread running between the requests. This has been applied
in relation to your request, as there is a common thread running through
your questions.

 

We would be able to consider disclosure for questions 1-6, however, the
data would need to be presented in a way that wouldn’t identify the
complainant. We believe it’s reasonable for complainants to expect that
their identities will be treated as confidential, and we would therefore
need to consider further what information we could provide.

 

If you would still like me to consider questions 1-6 from 1 January 2010-
31 December 2019, please let me know. 

 

Your right to appeal

 

I'm sorry I couldn’t provide the information you requested. If you would
like to appeal this decision please set out your reasons in writing to
[1][GMC request email]. Please note that we will only usually consider appeals
received within 40 working days of our response. You can also appeal to
the [2]Information Commissioner, the regulator of the FOIA and DPA.

 

Yours sincerely

Sadie Jones

Information Access Officer

[3][email address]

0161 250 6889

 

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

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We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are anon please sign in and let everyone know.