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GMC Fitness to Practise

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The GMC recognises that fitness to practise, as a concept, includes the need for a doctor to conduct their clinical practice safely and competently. However, they also recognise that GMC fitness to practise goes deeper than that. Doctors are respected in the community and deal with vulnerable patients. Doctors, therefore, have a responsibility to demonstrate that they justify the trust placed in them by the public.

Doctors are expected to follow the principles set out in Good Medical Practice, which details the core principal standards of competence, care and good conduct expected of doctors.

The GMC takes disciplinary action against doctors when they consider that their GMC fitness to practise is impaired due to their poor skills or performance, ill health, misconduct or a criminal conviction.The GMC investigates situations where a doctor’s performance has harmed patients or put patients at risk of harm. This may include persistent clinical failings or departures from good practice. There are multiple examples where the GMC will consider a doctor’s personal issues rather than, or as well as, the professional conduct of a doctor. The GMC will commence a fitness to practise investigation into a doctor where they consider that a doctor’s conduct demonstrates a lack of integrity, an unwillingness to practise ethically or a lack of insight into poor practice.
The GMC investigates situations where a doctor’s performance has harmed patients or put patients at risk of harm. This may include persistent clinical failings or departures from good practice. There are multiple examples where the GMC will consider a doctor’s personal issues rather than, or as well as, the professional conduct of a doctor. The council will commence a GMC fitness to practise investigation with a doctor where they consider that a doctor’s conduct demonstrates a lack of integrity, an unwillingness to practise ethically or a lack of insight into poor practice.

Allegations of dishonesty are always taken seriously by the GMC, as integrity and honesty are regarded as fundamental requirements for doctors.

The GMC are always going to be concerned about the public’s confidence in doctors generally. They will always seek to protect any risk to the reputation of doctors and so will not want to risk the public’s confidence in doctors being undermined by the GMC’s lack of action.

 


 

What type of GMC Fitness to Practise concerns will the GMC Investigate?

Each GMC fitness to practise investigation is different, but the GMC will certainly investigate concerns raised that fall into the following categories, although this list is by no means exhaustive:

  • A criminal conviction/caution;
  • Allegations of dishonesty;
  • Improper sexual conduct;
  • Substance misuse;
  • Unresolved health issues of the doctor which may put patients at risk.

Whatever the nature of the allegation, where a doctor is facing a GMC fitness to practise investigation, it is essential to obtain legal advice and representation as early as possible. Through early intervention, one may be able to persuade the GMC to stop the fitness to practise investigation on the basis that there is no case to answer. In the event that this is not possible, we may be able to limit the damage, by narrowing the allegations or by laying the foundations for a strategic defence at a hearing.

 


 

GMC Fitness to Practise Case Studies

Below are brief samples of the types of GMC fitness to practise cases where Richard Nelson LLP’s GMC lawyers have legally represented doctors:

  • Successful written representations for a doctor at rule 7 stage; this resulted in the GMC’s Case Examiners deciding that there was no case to answer;
  • Assisting a doctor to gain GMC registration by writing representations to the GMC about the doctor’s EC rights and their fitness to practise as a doctor in the UK;
  • Successfully representing a doctor on the specialist register before a GMC Fitness to Practise Panel hearing, avoiding an erasure, despite a factual finding of dishonesty;
  • Successfully representing a doctor who had been in a succession of review hearings with the GMC for fitness to practise issues; the Panel accepted that the issues were fundamentally health related and so the Panel going forward only issued conditions relating to the doctor’s health and not misconduct;

 


 

Testimonials from Doctors represented by Richard Nelson LLP in GMC fitness to practise investigations

 

“I was so lucky to meet Marie Dancer when I was desperate for help. She was very professional and approachable. She accepted my case with very short notice and dealt with my case in a timely fashion, my questions were answered straight away, and my case was sorted within 48 hours with a comprehensive letter of representation. She saved my career. Can’t thank her enough.”

 


 

Ask us a question

Do you have a question relating to GMC fitness to practise that hasn’t been covered in our guide? Feel free to ask Richard Nelson LLP’s GMC fitness to practise solicitors and we’ll endeavour to get back in touch with you as soon as possible.

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How can we help you with GMC Fitness to Practise Investigations?

In the event that you are facing a GMC fitness to practise investigation or hearing before the GMC’s Fitness to Practise Panel, expert defence representation will significantly improve your prospects of obtaining the best possible outcome. Contact our GMC Lawyers today without delay for a free confidential telephone consultation and we will be happy to help you.

 


 

Further Reading

 

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