The General Medical Council
Hints and tips for doctors appearing before the regulator.
For any medical practitioner, an investigation into your work can be a stressful time. BMA Law is here to assist and guide you through the process, aiming to keep all procedures as stress-free as possible.
If you are being investigated in relation to a criminal allegation, it is vital that you inform us straight away. We will ensure that a criminal litigation specialist contacts you immediately to provide advice and assistance from the moment you are aware of any complaint being raised against you.
The GMC will investigate a myriad of complaints, including but not limited to the following:
- Poor performance
- A criminal conviction or caution
- Physical or mental ill-health that may impact your ability to practice medicine
- A determination by another regulatory body
- Insufficient knowledge of English
You should note that should the GMC launch an investigation into your alleged misconduct, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the matter will proceed to a hearing. Most matters which are referred to the GMC do not move past the investigation stage. Nonetheless when you are first notified, you should immediately notify BMA Law (and any other defence organisations that you are a member) of their investigation.
When you are first notified of an investigation, you should:
- Contact BMA Law for legal advice straight away.
- Provide as much information you have on the concern raised. Getting key information early can help us close investigations more quickly.
- Think about emotional support. Even if your investigation ends in no action, we understand that this can be a stressful time.
- Good medical practice obliges you to engage with the GMC. But it’s also in your interests to do so – they may be able to conclude our investigation sooner if you do fully engage.
At the beginning of the investigation, the GMC will:
- Write to your employers to see if they have any information that might help with its investigation.
- Consider whether the concerns about you mean your practice should be restricted or suspended. immediately. In these cases, you will be referred to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) for an interim orders tribunal hearing.
- If the concerns received relate to convictions, cautions or decisions by another regulatory body, you’ll be referred directly to a medical practitioner tribunal at the MPTS (not for less serious convictions, such as parking offences).
Once the GMC has gathered all the information required, two of their senior decision makers (one medical and one non-medical) will review the evidence. They’ll decide whether to:
They will write to you with their decision and the reasons for it and will inform the parties who shared the concern, but won’t share any personal information with others.
If the GMC agree undertakings with you, or if an MPTS tribunal directs conditions or a suspension, they will monitor your compliance with the restrictions.
In practice, this means the GMC will speak to your medical supervisor (a specialist who reports on your progress under treatment, if applicable), your responsible officer, and anyone involved in monitoring your sanctions.
To help decide whether to change, extend or remove your sanctions, the GMC may also ask you to undergo further procedures, such as health or performance assessments.
During the monitoring period, the GMC will regularly assess whether your undertakings are still fit for purpose. When they do this, they can decide to remove or revise the undertakings with your agreement. If they can’t agree on revisions (variations), they may refer your case to the MPTS.
If you fail to comply with undertakings, you will be referred you to the MPTS for a hearing. They would also do this if we believed your health or performance had deteriorated to the point where undertakings are no longer appropriate, or the GMC receive information that leads to further concerns about your practice.
In most cases, the MPTS will schedule a review hearing at the same time that it imposes conditions on your practice. This review hearing will decide whether to extend, change or remove these restrictions.
If you fail to comply with conditions, the GMC will refer to the MPTS for an early review hearing.
Contact us now for more information >
This guidance has been created for BMA law by expert criminal solicitor Clayton Williams of Capital Law who has a vast amount of experience supporting our clients through these difficult times. To provide the best possible support we work in partnership with Capital Law, a national firm who specialise in criminal litigation.