Preparing for your GMC Hearing at the MPTS What to expect
25 Oct 2017
Your GMC Hearing
Unless specifically agreed, our fixed fee does not include a lawyer from Richard Nelson LLP attending your hearing, to enable us to keep your costs as low as possible. We will have instructed a barrister to represent you, who will meet you at the MPTS.
You will need to meet your barrister at least 30 minutes before your hearing is listed to commence, to enable you to have a discussion before your hearing starts.
We will, however, be available by telephone to answer any questions, or to assist you and your barrister with any issues that may arise.
If your hearing is due to last for more than one day, your barrister will advise you what time you need to return for subsequent days, which may vary from day to day.
Where to go
Please note: GMC hearings are before the MPTS. The MPTS building is not the same address as the GMC’s correspondence address, which is 3 Hardman Square, Manchester, M3 3AW. Many doctors incorrectly assume that they should attend 3 Hardman Square. If you do attend here by accident, there is a taxi rank right outside the GMC’s building which fortunately is a short taxi ride away from the MPTS building.
Your hearing before the MPTS will take place at:
Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service
St James’s Building
79 Oxford Street
The nearest train station is Manchester Oxford Road. The MPTS is literally a couple of minutes’ walk from Manchester Oxford Road station. You need to walk down from the station, then bear right, cross the road and head towards the Palace Theatre. Walk down the road, looking out for St James Building, the entrance for which is on the right. The door can be easy to miss, so if you get to the Pizza Express you have gone too far.
From Manchester Piccadilly station, the MPTS is about a 10-minute walk away, or a short taxi ride. However, the queue for the taxi rank at Manchester Piccadilly can sometimes be quite long, so allow plenty of time.
If you are travelling by car, there are plenty of car parks near the MPTS building. The nearest car park is NCP, 100 Great Bridgewater Street, Manchester, M1 5EJ, which is a 2-minute walk from the MPTS.
The closest Metrolink station is St Peter’s Square.
If you have extenuating circumstances, then the GMC will consider an alternative hearing venue in London. Please contact us in advance, as any requests for a hearing to be heard in a London venue will need to be made significantly in advance of the day.
What to do on arrival
On arrival at the MPTS building, from the ground floor, take the lift to the 7th floor, where you will find the reception desk for the MPTS. Tell them who you are and they will give you a visitor pass and tell you which hearing room you will be in. They will also be able to tell you if your barrister has already arrived.
They will take you to a conference room which will have been put aside for you and your barrister. The room will enable you and your barrister to have somewhere private to meet to discuss your case.
What to expect
Your hearing will take place in a large meeting room with tables and chairs positioned for you and your barrister, the GMC case presenter, the panel, the legal advisor, the panel secretary and any witnesses. There will be a specific place allocated for you and your barrister to sit.
Unless it has been specifically directed that your case will take place in private, hearings are held in public and therefore members of the public can attend. However, it is very unusual for members of the public or press to be present unless your case has attracted media interest, which is highly unusual.
What to bring
Unless specifically requested, we will not need you to bring anything to the hearing. We will have already prepared and submitted to the panel a hearing bundle, which you will have seen in advance. The bundle will contain all the relevant defence documentation that we want to show the panel. However, if at the last minute, you remember any additional documentation that you have not previously shown us, which you think may be relevant, then please take it with you and show it to your barrister before the hearing starts. The barrister will be able to advise you about the relevance and admissibility of the new document.
You may prefer to attend your hearing on your own, but you can bring someone with you for support if that will assist you. Your friend or family member can come into the hearing to observe, or if you prefer, we can ask them to remain in the waiting room to support you during the various breaks. You may want to consider bringing a magazine, book or iPad with you, to keep you occupied and distracted during any long breaks.
Remember to bring any medication with you that you need to take during the day, as the day can be quite long.
You should wear either a suit or an outfit which you would wear for a formal interview.
What to do the night before your GMC hearing
You may find it useful to read through your witness statement and any reflective piece you have written (if applicable) the night before. This will refresh you on the details of your case, but also to reassure you that you are prepared.
We understand that attending a hearing is stressful. However, if possible, try to have a good night’s sleep.
Many doctors prefer to travel the night before and stay in Manchester locally. However, we appreciate that this is not feasible for everyone. Plan your journey in advance, allowing extra time to ensure you arrive at the venue in plenty of time and not flustered.
What to do during the GMC hearing
Apart from when you are giving your evidence, your barrister will talk on your behalf during the hearing. They will present your defence and when appropriate will ask witnesses questions.
When you give evidence, it is important that you speak clearly and as calmly as possible. You will not have to make a speech but you will be answering questions. You will first be asked questions by your barrister, then by the case presenter for the GMC; then the panel members may have a couple of questions to ask you
Take your time and do not rush. If there is a question that you do not understand, it is important to say so; as the lawyers can then rephrase the question for you. If you are asked a question that you do not know the answer to, it is important not to guess the answer, but simply explain that you do not know the answer.
There are times when doctors can find the process of giving evidence, or answering certain questions frustrating. However, it is essential that you stay calm throughout the process and answer each question respectfully. Trust that if you are asked an inappropriate question that your barrister will intervene on your behalf. However, it is unusual to be asked an inappropriate question and so fully expect to have to answer whatever is asked of you.
There is a hot drinks machine, water machine and a vending machine beyond reception. There is also wifi available.
The MPTS does not provide lunch for doctors, however, there are plenty of places nearby where you can purchase lunch, including a couple of coffee shops next to the building and a small supermarket which is nearby.
Please, however tempting, do not consume alcohol during a lunch break. This may sound patronising and obvious, but we have experience of being able to smell alcohol on doctors in the afternoon. If we can smell alcohol on you, it is possible that others can. We need you to be fully focused and sharp in the afternoon, particularly if you are giving evidence.