New GMC consultation on the publication of sanctions in fitness to practise proceedings
On 1st July 2015 the GMC published a consultation on changes to the information they publish about a doctor’s fitness to practise record. The GMC are seeking to make it fairer for doctors and to ensure that the sharing of information about sanctions is more proportionate than the current system.
Fitness to practise sanctions given to doctors are published on the GMC’s online medical register, referred to as the List of Registered Medical Practitioners (“LRMP”). Sanctions are also disclosed to general enquirers. Currently, apart from warnings (which are published on the LRMP for 5 years but disclosed indefinitely to employers), sanctions are published and disclosed indefinitely. In addition, the way information is currently recorded and published doesn’t make it clear if a doctor has appealed against a sanction.
The GMC’s current proposal is that when a doctor is erased, but then restored, for details of the original erasure to remain on the medical register for as long as the doctor remains registered with the GMC; then if they leave for a further 5 years. For other sanctions (suspension, conditions, undertakings) it is proposed that these remain on the online register for 20 years, starting from the date the sanction expires.
20 years is being suggested as an appropriate amount of time, on the basis that indefinite publication is no longer considered to be necessary. However, there is still a view that the information should be published for a significant period of time, on the basis that it is in the public interest for this information to be readily available. Despite this, the GMC concede that the more time that passes the need to disclose the sanction in the public interest declines.
The consultation is open until 23rd September 2015 and anyone with a view about this topic is encouraged to engage with the consultation.
If you would like further information regarding GMC regulations, you can read our GMC Lawyers page. Additionally, read more about Fitness to Practise Investigations and get in touch with our specialist medical lawyers today.