Published: 04/03/2004, Volume II4, No. 5895 Page 5

The General Medical Council has claimed that a leaked letter from Shipman inquiry solicitors criticising the council was little more than a resumé of evidence raised during the inquiry.

The letter suggested that the GMC's progress on revalidation - its proposed system of re-certifying doctors due to be introduced from next year - could be slated when Shipman inquiry head Dame Janet Smith publishes her final report, expected in the summer. Revalidation, which was first mooted before the Shipman inquiry began, is seen as the GMC's key weapon in its battle to retain the medical profession's right to self-regulation.

The letter, leaked to GP magazine Pulse, contained a string of criticisms of the GMC, including accusations of poor complainthandling and bias in favour of doctors.

The GMC said in a statement that all the points raised by the letter were 'in the public domain'. It said 'the content of the Shipman Inquiry's final report is another matter'.