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Prof. Safwat Tosson has been appointed to be the first Gibraltar Responsible officer and has been recognised as Suitable Person by the General Medical Council.

An informative report on this important achievement has been written by Prof. Tosson himself:


I am very proud to be the first Gibraltar Responsible officer and recognised as Suitable Person by the General Medical Council. The elected Gibraltar Government December 2011 pledged that all Doctors working in Gibraltar should be registered with the General Medical Council to ensure the highest quality of medical care and behaviour. Since then the long awaited General Medical Council Revalidation process started. The Minister of Health Dr John Cortes appointed a Revalidation group to explore strategies to meet the challenge of revalidating Doctors working in Gibraltar without prescribed connection to a Designated Body in Britain as the British law now requires. After extensive consultations we agreed the way forward is that the Gibraltar Health Authority establish its’ own Responsible Officer. Following extensive consultation with the Department of Health, London, and the General Medical Council, the Gibraltar Law was changed to create the Gibraltar Responsible Officer December 2013. Thereafter, I was appointed as the Gibraltar Responsible Officer March 2014. The Law changed and all doctors working in Gibraltar should have GMC registration with Licence to practice by July 2016.

So why the GHA needs a Responsible Officer (RO) and a Suitable Person?

In the NHS most organisations are called “Designated Body” with a Medical director who is usually the Responsible Officer because both roles responsibilities’ overlap in term of governance of doctors. So he or she is appointed by their own organisation. Unfortunately the British law does not allow the Gibraltar Health Authority to be a designated body. The GMC revalidation regulations, made it possible to accept recommendations for doctors revalidation made by a “Suitable Person” on behalf of doctors who do not have a Responsible Officer. This will allow the Gibraltar Health Authority doctors to revalidate.

What is a suitable person?

A suitable person is a licensed doctor who the General Medical Council have approved as suitable to make a revalidation recommendation about a doctor's fitness to practice. Therefore a suitable person performs the same revalidation functions as a Responsible Officer and is responsible for:

  1. overseeing the evaluation of fitness to practise, and monitoring the conduct and performance of doctors

  2. ensuring that there are systems and processes in place locally to support doctors in their revalidation, such as annual appraisals

  3. making recommendations to the GMC about the revalidation of doctors who have an approved connection to them.

The General Medical Council has strict criteria for the selection and approval of a Suitable Person. So far there are only about 20 Suitable Person.

I attended Responsible Officer Training June 2014, Leeds, I had to study all the regulations, guidance and directives and undertook several online courses with assessments and calibrations

My first task was to organise annual appraisals, to guarantee the highest standards of quality assured appraisals; the Gibraltar Health Authority contracted the Wessex education appraisals services to undertake the process. The Gibraltar Health Authority doctors embraced the appraisal process enthusiastically and we started in April 2014 and the first year report in July 2015 shows 100% appraisals. This year is on target so far.

By July 2016 all doctors working for the GHA should be registered with the General Medical Council and licenced. I have learnt a great deal about governance and managing organisation and people. The skills gained will enhance my ability as MIPS Treasurer.

Safwat Tosson


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