All medical doctors in the UK, whether qualified and in practice or still training, are required to register with the GMC (General Medical Council). In the event of a complaint against a medical doctor, the regulatory function of the General Medical Council will decide, after investigation, whether the doctor in question should face a Fitness to Practise Panel in a hearing with the MPTS (Medical Practitioners Tribunal Services).
Any concern or complaint raised by the GMC can be extremely stressful and confusing, particularly when a negative outcome may impact the professional status and ability of the doctor concerned to earn a living. In order to respond to allegations in the best possible way, it is important for a doctor to immediately seek legal advice from a firm of solicitors experienced in representing healthcare professionals dealing with GMC hearings.
A team of solicitors who specialise in Fitness to Practise proceedings will help you navigate through the difficult stages of the GMC disciplinary process, as well as advise you on associated issues such as CQC investigations and how to best protect yourself and your practice. Read more here for information about hiring a medical defence lawyer.
Pending GMC Investigation
If you have been accused of breaching the professional rules of conduct as set out by the regulatory organisation for doctors in the U.K, the General Medical Council, you will be notified that an allegation has been made against you regarding your fitness to practise. You will receive a Rule 4 letter outlining the nature of the allegation before an investigation is conducted.
After the GMC case examiners have conducted their investigation you will receive a Rule 7 letter from the GMC, setting out the evidence regarding the allegations made against you. You will be given 28 days to submit a substantive response to the allegations, which will be taken into account when a decision is made regarding the outcome of the investigation.
That is why it is extremely important to contact an expert solicitor without delay to advise you on the best course of action for your particular case. You will receive expert advice on the correct way to submit your evidence to the case examiners and assistance with the submission of a written response to the GMC Rule 7 letter. Lawyers who regularly represent healthcare professionals have a great deal of experience in Fitness to Practice hearings and the appropriate way to respond to allegations.
Once a response has been received, the case examiners will make a decision based on the outcome of the investigation and recommend one of the following:
- Issue a warning - Close the case without action - Impose/accept undertakings - Refer the case for a Fitness to Practise MPTS hearing
After considering the evidence, a panel will decide whether your fitness to practise has been impaired. Fitness to Practice lawyers will ensure that the case is well-prepared with the correct information presented to the panel, to protect your interests to the best possible extent. With the knowledge and experience in this field of law on your side, you have a much better chance of a positive outcome when defending a GMC investigation.