Confidence in the GMC’s ability to work in the interest of doctors and the MPTS’ ability to make fair decisions are at an all-time low amongst doctors.
Perceptions Survey 2022
The GMC’s Corporate Strategy sets out three strategies:
- Enabling professionals to provide safe care
- Developing a sustainable medical workforce
- Making every interaction matter
However, it’s annual Perceptions Tracking Survey, that tracks progress on the GMC work to achieve these aims, makes difficult reading for the GMC.
Amongst the figures reported, the survey reported that:
- 33% of doctors were “fairly or very confident” in the way the GMC regulates doctors
- 30% of doctors felt supported by the GMC to deliver good, safe care
- 23% of doctors felt the GMC was focusing on the right issues
- 62% of doctors argued that they thought the GMC looks out for patients’ interests, not those of doctors
- Trust in the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) has decreased significantly – amongst doctors, from 35% in 2020 to 17% in 2022
- A similar significant downward pattern was observed for “trust in the GMC” with dealing with a concern related to a doctor’s fitness to practise, from 33% in 2020 to 26% in 2022
These numbers clearly indicate a perception pointing to deteriorating trust in both the GMC and MPTS’ ability to work in the interest of doctors and to treat them fairly.
What difference does legal representation make?
GMC investigations and hearings are daunting, prolonged, legalistic and utterly traumatic experiences for doctors, regardless of the final outcome.
Dealing with the GMC, responding to GMC correspondence and the prospect of a MPTS hearing – that is a trial in all but name – will be daunting for any doctor. With over 30 years combined experience, Kings View Chambers have a clear understanding of the GMC’s rules. We have advised and represented doctors successfully for many years and can advise doctors on all aspects of GMC investigations and MPTS hearings.
The apparent erosion of doctor’s trust and confidence in the GMC to treat them fairly does point to the importance of seeking independent legal advice and representation. Independent legal advice will give you an honest assessment of your case, protect your rights to a fair hearing, and will always look out for your interests first.
The case for legal advice
We know, from experience, that legal advice and representation makes a positive difference and this is backed up by an increasing body of data and research.
A 2019 study peer-reviewed study published in the journal BMC Medicine found that doctors who lacked legal representation tended to receive more serious outcomes. The study results showed clearly that both “non-attendance and lack of legal representation” were consistently related to more serious outcomes.”
A similar 2015 study revealed that – of the two outcomes, suspension or erasure – doctors with legal representation at hearings were significantly more likely to merely be suspended (72%), rather than struck off (28%). In contrast, 69% of self-represented doctors were struck off.
More recently, research published concluded that:
“Legal representation was seen as important by participants because legal advice could support and guide registrants through the FtP process, which is complex and legalistic. Legal advice was seen as important in aiding registrants to understand regulators’ expectations, especially in terms of the need for registrants to demonstrate insight and perhaps to show evidence of remediation activities. Lack of legal representation was, therefore, seen to potentially have an impact in terms of the seriousness of the outcome for registrants who are perhaps unaware of how to present their case to best effect.”
Kings View Barristers
With over 30 years combined experience, Kings View Chambers have established itself as one of the best when it comes to fitness to practise defence. We fully understand that fitness to practise defence is not merely about processes and procedures. We also understand that we are working with people who are anxious and worried about what investigations might mean for them, their professions and the reputations.
We are proud to be rated ‘excellent’ by our clients. Our commitment to client care is genuine in both seeking the very best outcomes for our clients, but also ensuring we do what we can to support them through the process.
Disclaimer: This article is for guidance purposes only. Kings View Chambers accepts no responsibility or liability whatsoever for any action taken, or not taken, in relation to this article. You should seek the appropriate legal advice having regard to your own particular circumstances.