Doctors who make mistakes could face tougher sanctions, under proposals by the General Medical Council (GMC).

The GMC, the organisation responsible for regulating doctors, is proposing that doctors who refuse to apologise to patients ​and relatives if they have made a mistake, or fail to blow the whistle on colleagues they know are under-performing, could be struck off.

The GMC also wants to be able to restrict the practice of doctors who have made mistakes and since retrained, even if their work has improved.

The proposals, now out to public consultation will form the basis of guidance on the sanctions doctors should face for various offences.

Linda Millband, National Practice Lead for clinical negligence at Thompsons Solicitors, said: “Any proposals that help to increase patient safety are welcome. In the main, doctors are among the most trusted professionals and do a good job. However, in some instances, mistakes are made, and, in the worst cases, these are repeated on countless numbers of innocent patients.

“There have been cases of failings at entire health boards, for example the Mid-Staffordshire scandal, and also of repeated mistakes made by single surgeons, such as Roger Bainton or Ian Paterson. It is essential that doctors are held to account for their actions, so that patients are able to trust that the treatment they are receiving is up to standard.

“Patient safety must be at the heart of everything the healthcare profession does, and if tougher sanctions for doctors is the way to improve patient protection and public confidence in doctors, then this action by the GMC must be applauded.”