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GMC Hearings: What to expect at the MPTS & how to prepare

25 Oct 2017

Home → Information → Fitness to PractiseGMC Fitness to Practise → GMC Hearings

GMC Hearings

Unless specifically agreed, our fixed fee does not include a lawyer from Richard Nelson LLP attending your hearing. This allows 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 GMC hearing is listed to commence, to enable you to have a discussion before your hearing starts.

We will be available by telephone to answer any questions, or to assist you and your barrister with any issues that may arise.

If your GMC 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.

Summary

  • A barrister will meet you at your GMC Hearing, unless we have specifically agreed for a lawyer from Richard Nelson LLP to attend. This helps us keep your costs as low as possible.
  • Arrive 30 minutes before your first GMC hearing
  • Your barrister will advise on what time to arrive if your GMC hearing is longer than one 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 GMC hearing before the MPTS will take place at:

Address
Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service
7th Floor
St James’s Building
79 Oxford Street
Manchester
M1 6FQ

The nearest train station is Manchester Oxford Road. The MPTS is 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 GMC a hearing to be heard in a London venue will need to be made significantly in advance of the day.

Summary

  • Your GMC hearing will take place in the above Manchester address which is different from the GMC correspondence address
  • The GMC will only consider an alternative venue in London if you have extenuating circumstances; if you want to request for this, you will have to do this well in advance

 


 

What to do on arrival for GMC hearings

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.

Summary

  • Once you arrive, take the lift to the 7th floor
  • Go to the reception desk and give them your details
  • They will give you a visitor pass and take you to a conference room for you and your barrister

 

What to expect at GMC hearings

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
  • 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, GMC hearings are held in public and therefore members of the public can attend. It is very unusual for members of the public or press to be present unless your case has attracted media interest, which is highly rare.

Summary

  • There will be specific seating arrangements for all parties in the GMC hearing
  • The public can attend, but they tend to only be present if your case has media attention

 

What to bring to GMC hearings

Unless specifically requested, we will not need you to bring anything to the GMC hearing. We will have already prepared and submitted to the panel a hearing bundle, which you will have seen in advance. A hearing bundle will contain all the relevant defence documentation that we want to show the panel. If at the last minute, you remember any additional documentation that you have not previously shown us, which you think may be relevant, then take it with you and show it to your barrister before the GMC 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 GMC 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 GMC hearing to observe. 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.

Summary

  • Bring any additional documentation that you think will be relevant in your GMC hearing
  • Bring a magazine, book, iPad or anything else to keep you occupied during long breaks
  • Don’t forget your ID, any medication or chargers for any devices you bring
  • Wear a suit or formal workwear outfit

 

What to do before your GMC hearings

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 GMC 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.

Summary

  • Read your witness statement and reflective piece (if relevant) the night before
  • Try have a relaxing night and plenty of sleep the night before
  • Plan your journey so you can arrive at the venue in plenty of time
  • If possible, you can also try to stay in Manchester locally the night before

 


 

What to do during the GMC hearings

Apart from when you are giving your evidence, your barrister will talk on your behalf during the GMC 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.

Summary

  • You will only need to speak when giving your evidence
  • Speak as clearly and calmly as possible – take your time and do not rush
  • Your barrister will talk on your behalf for the remainder of your GMC hearing
  • If you do not understand a question, say this and the lawyers will rephrase it
  • If you do not know the answer to a question, do not guess – instead, simply say you do not know the answer
  • Stay calm and answer each question respectfully

 


 

Facilities in the MPTS

There is a hot drinks machine, water machine and a vending machine beyond reception. There is also Wi-Fi 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.

Summary

  • Wi-Fi, hot drinks machine, water machine and vending machine available
  • The MPTS does not provide lunch for doctors, but there are places nearby to eat
  • Do not consume alcohol during a lunch break

 

 

GMC Hearings are incredibly stressful times for the individual and their families. For specialist support and legal advice from a leading firm in The Times’ Legal 500, get in touch with our defence lawyers for doctors today for a free call back.

Marie Dancer

Written by Marie Dancer

Since joining Richard Nelson LLP in 2003, Marie Dancer became a Partner in 2009 before becoming the Managing Partner in 2015. Marie is a highly regarded professional disciplinary lawyer who defends a variety of healthcare and teaching professionals in fitness to practise investigations.

Read more about Marie Dancer.

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