Contact from the GMC can be distressing for doctors, and there are important things doctors should do when they receive correspondence from the GMC.
Doctors should expect to be the subject of a GMC complaint at some point in your career
Trapped between the ever-increasing demands of a growing and ageing population and years of underfunding by successive governments, overstretched doctors risk not just stress and burnout. If you are a doctor working in the UK today, statistics show you should expect to be the subject of a General Medical Council (GMC) complaint at some point in your career.
The GMC view such complaints as an ‘occupational hazard’, however most doctors who approach us for legal advice and support have little insight into this process and are ill-prepared for this extremely stressful eventuality.
Through our extensive experience working with doctors for many years, we know contact from the GMC can be incredibly distressing for doctors. There are however a number of important things doctors should do and know when they receive contact from the GMC relating to allegations made against them.
1. Resist a hasty response
When doctors receive contact from the GMC to tell you that a complaint has been received which will formally be investigated, the temptation can often be to panic, which can lead to rash actions and decisions.
Take time to fully consider the correspondence however. In the vast majority of cases, there is no need to rush. Remember, whatever correspondence and/or contact takes place between you and the GMC could be considered as part of the fitness to practise investigation.
Put personal feelings aside and try to objectively consider the circumstances that lead to the complaint. I can advise doctors on when and how to respond to correspondence from the GMC.
2. Seek legal advice at the earliest possible opportunity
Doctors should seek legal advice and assistance at the earliest possible occasion after receiving contact from the GMC. This is because:
- Early engagement will help to thoroughly assess the individual circumstances of your case which will allow us to help you set the right strategy and approach that will improve the prospect of a more positive outcome.
- Evidence of insight and remediation often takes a long time to achieve. An aspect of agreeing the right strategy and approach at an early stage is assessing the need and level of insight and remediation.
- GMC investigations are utterly traumatic experiences for doctors, regardless of the final outcome. However, there are opportunities for early resolution of GMC investigations at various stages in the process. Early engagement with expert legal advice will enable us to assess these opportunities and represent doctors when these opportunities arise.
Does legal advice matter?
Doctors will be sorely mistaken if they believe that the GMC would be of any assistance to them during any investigation. The GMC’s role is to bring proceedings against doctors, in order to protect the public and uphold confidence in the profession. There is clear evidence that legal representation and advice leads to better outcomes for doctors. There are a number of issues for a doctor to consider when considering the value of legal advice, but the simple fact is, MPTS hearings are far from simple and straight forward.
Doctors should seek legal advice and representation when facing any form of GMC allegation and/or investigation. Expert legal advice will, first and foremost, look after the best interest of the doctor and seek the best outcomes for them.
Kings View Chambers
We regularly advise doctors and understand the significance and impact complaints can have on the reputation and career of a doctor. A well-prepared case is essential to ensure the best outcome for you, your career and professional reputation. It is imperative that you seek legal advice from someone who specialises in GMC defence work.
What we do:
- GMC fitness to practise referrals
- GMC fitness to practise hearings
- Appeals against a MPTS Tribunal determination
- MPTS Interim Order hearings
- Appeals against a MPTS Interim Orders Tribunal determination
- Preparing your case before the Case Examiners
- Help with the decision of the Case Examiners
- Help with voluntary removal
- Registration advice
- Appeal against refusal of registration
- Restoration to the Register
- Investigation and disciplinary hearings at work
- Criminal investigation and proceedings
- Police cautions
- DBS [Disclosure and Barring Service] issues
Insight & remediation training & coaching
Insight Works Training will help give you a clear and easy to follow understanding of the regulatory process, explanation of the central role of impairment, how to approach insight and remediation, how to evidence this at your hearing and a directed approach to presenting your learning with evidence in writing and verbally.
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.