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GMC Investigations Frequently Asked Questions

A GMC Investigation can be inherently tricky to grasp, especially whilst you’re trying to balance it amongst your day-to-day medical profession. That’s why our team of specialist GMC lawyers have rounded up some of the more common questions surrounding a GMC Investigation whilst providing you with simple, easy-to-understand answers that will assist you in understanding your GMC investigation.


 

1. Who do the GMC regulate?

The GMC regulates doctors who are registered to practise medicine in the UK.

 


 

2. Who might have referred me to the GMC?

Referrals can be from a variety of sources but are commonly made by NHS Trusts, other employers, the police, other healthcare professionals, other bodies and occasionally patients.

 


 

3. What sort of allegations will the GMC investigate?

The GMC will investigate allegations that a doctor’s fitness to practise is impaired by reason of misconduct, poor performance, a conviction or caution for a criminal offence, physical or mental ill health, a decision by another regulatory body, or a lack of the necessary knowledge of the English language to be able to practise medicine safely in the UK. For more information on fitness to practise investigations from the GMC, you can read our dedicated GMC fitness to practise guide.

 


 

4. What should I do if I have been referred to the GMC?

  • Continue to practise, unless an Interim Orders Tribunal issues an Interim Suspension Order;
  • Tell your employer that you are under investigation by the GMC and ask them about the possibility of providing a reference for you;
  • Seek advice from your professional organisation, trade union or lawyer as a priority and in particular before responding to any correspondence which could prejudice your case;
  • Cooperate with and engage in the process throughout, supplying any responses and references by the stated deadlines;
  • Keep the GMC informed of any change in your personal contact details.

 


 

5. I have received a Rule 4 Letter, what should I do?

Seek advice from your professional organisation, trade union or lawyer as a priority, and definitely before responding to any correspondence. This letter will outline the nature of the information that has been referred to the GMC. A tactical decision needs to be made as to whether you respond to the GMC now and if so any response needs to be carefully considered in order not to prejudice your case.

 


 

6. I have received a Rule 7 Letter, what should I do?

Seek urgent advice from your professional organisation, trade union or lawyer. This letter will explain that the GMC’s investigations have been concluded and detail the specific allegations against you together with supporting evidence. It is important that any response to this letter is well thought out and ideally it will be prepared by an experienced lawyer.

 


 

7. What is the role of the Case Examiner in a GMC Investigation?

The role of the Case Examiner is to determine whether there is a case to answer. If they make this decision they can then issue a warning, agree undertakings with the doctor, or refer the doctor to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS).

 


 

What is an 8. Interim Orders Tribunal?

The GMC can also refer you to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service for an Interim Orders Tribunal hearing at any point. At an Interim Orders Tribunal, a panel will decide whether to suspend your registration or restrict you from practising whilst the allegations against you are investigated.

 


 

9. How will the allegations against me be investigated by the GMC?

If an allegation has been made that questions your fitness to practise the GMC will investigate the matter. They will take witness statements, collate documentary evidence and liaise with your current employer. The process may also include an assessment of your performance, your health or your knowledge of the English language as relevant.

If the Case Examiner decides there is a case to answer, you are referred to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service for a fitness to practise hearing.

 


 

10. What will happen at the Medical Practitioners Tribunal (MPTS)?

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal (MPTS) will hear evidence from both parties and will decide whether the facts of the allegations have been proved and if so whether the doctor’s fitness to practise has been impaired.

If the panel decides that the doctor’s fitness to practise is not impaired, they can:

  • Take no further action; or
  • Issue a warning.

If the panel decide that the doctor’s fitness to practise is impaired, they will examine the sanctions guidance and will consider the following range of sanctions available to them:

  • No further action;
  • Accept Undertakings which have been agreed between the Doctor and the GMC;
  • Impose Conditions on Registration for up to 3 years;
  • Suspend Registration for up to 12 months;
  • Erasure.

 


 

11. Do I have a right of appeal?

You have 28 days from the day of the tribunal decision to appeal to the High Court. We would advise that you again seek advice from your professional organisation, trade union or lawyer if you are considering appealing as this can be an expensive exercise.

 


 

13. Ask another question

Do you have another question relating to GMC investigations that we haven’t covered here? Feel free to ask Richard Nelson LLP’s fitness to practise solicitors and we’ll endeavour to get back in touch with you as soon as possible.

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If you would like any more information concerning legal representation for doctors, contact us today. We will be happy to talk through any questions that you have without any obligations on your part.Alternatively, find out more about how our GMC lawyers can help you.

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