Doctors and GMC proceedings
'Unmatchable service and value for clients’ - Legal 500, 2021 (Professional Discipline)
'Dedicated and relentless' - Legal 500, 2021 (Professional Discipline)
If you are being investigated by the General Medical Council (GMC), our specialist Disciplinary and Regulatory solicitors can provide expert legal advice and representation.
Doctors are regulated by the General Medical Council (GMC), but there are other regulators responsible for the regulation and discipline of health care professionals. These include the Health and Care Professionals Council (HCPC), the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) and the General Optical Council (GOC). Broadly speaking, most of the regulators operate with similar principles and standards (see An overview of Regulatory and Disciplinary Proceedings).
What is a GMC investigation?
The GMC receives thousands of complaints about doctors every year. The large majority of these complaints do not warrant an investigation and the case is closed at an early stage. If the GMC decides to investigate any concern then you will be notified and asked to provide written comments. Your employer will also be informed. You may be asked to undertake a health assessment depending on the nature of the investigation.
Am I required to report a criminal allegation against me?
You are required to tell the GMC without delay if you are charged or cautioned for any criminal offence anywhere in the world. There are also other obligations to report. For example, anti-social behaviour warnings or criticism of you in any inquiry or Tribunal. You should seek legal advice about this.
Interim Orders Committee
If the GMC commences an investigation then it may refer a doctor to the Interim Orders Committee (IOC) for a decision as to whether restrictions ought to be placed on his or her ability to practice. The IOC has the power to impose conditions on practice or order suspension. The overriding consideration will be the risk of harm to the public during the period of investigation.
What happens at the end of an investigation?
Once all of the evidence has been gathered, it will be considered by two senior ‘decision-makers’ (one medical and one non-medical). The GMC may decide to:
- Take no action
- Issue a warning
- Agree undertakings
- Refer the case to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS)
What is the MPTS?
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service is the Tribunal which hears complaints referred to it by the GMC and applications for interim orders. A Tribunal of three persons consisting of at least one medical member and one non-medical member will hear the case against you which will be presented by the GMC. The burden is on the GMC to prove its case to the civil standard (i.e. ‘on a balance of probabilities’).
If a case against a doctor is found to be proven by the MPTS then it can either take no action or impose the following sanctions:
- Accept undertakings
- Impose conditions on practice
- Suspend registration
- Erasure from the Register
Why should I instruct Brett Wilson LLP?
We have extensive experience in handling GMC investigations from the outset where focus on the relevant issues and quality written submissions are of paramount importance. We also have a range of expertise at the firm to deal with related matters such as criminal prosecution and privacy applications. We will undertake a detailed analysis of the issues in the case at the outset and give you straightforward and honest advice on strategy.
We have long-standing working relationships with the best regulatory KCs and junior barristers to match your budget, whom we can instruct to advise in more complex cases and to represent you at the IOC or at the MPTS if the need arises.
We are recognised in the prestigious Legal 500 directory for our work in the field of professional discipline. The department is described in the Legal 500 2021 directory as providing ‘unmatchable service and value for clients’ and ‘dedicated and relentless’.
How do I instruct Brett Wilson LLP?
You should contact one of our team to discuss your case and arrange a preliminary consultation. We will provide with written details of our fee structure. The first step is to attend a preliminary consultation. At the consultation we will advise you on the investigation, talk through the relevant practical and legal issues, and set out your options. We will review relevant documentation ahead of the consultation. The consultation will help you understand your position and allow you to make an informed decision about what action to take.
Consultations take place in our London offices or by Zooms/Teams/telephone. We can also travel to you.
To request a consultation please send us an email, complete our online enquiry form or call us on 020 3627 5739. If emailing or using the online form, please provide a short outline of your situation.
Details of the cost of a consultation will be provided following your enquiry.
Contact us to request a consultation
Call 020 7183 8950
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