Doctors and Dentists facing investigation by the General Medical Council (GMC) or General Dental Council (GDC)

The Investigation procedure undertaken by GMC for Doctors and GDC for Dentists are similar and therefore the contents of this Article apply equally to both the professions. Doctors and Dentists facing allegations of impairment of fitness to practise on the basis of misconduct, deficient professional performance, health, knowledge of English or conviction may face an investigation by the GMC/GDC, which may ultimately lead to an MPTS Fitness to Practise Panel hearing.

What should I do when I have been notified of a GMC/GDC investigation into my fitness to practise?
Many doctors/dentists make the mistake of contacting the GMC/GDC following receipt of a notification of investigation. Speaking to the GMC/GDC enables the GMC/GDC to use what is said against you and you may, inadvertently, prejudice your own case. Your first port of call should always be to contact a credible and reputable defence solicitor to review your case to ensure that you receive the best possible advice at the earliest possible opportunity.

How does the investigation process work?
When an investigation begins, you will be informed about the complaint in writing by the GMC/GDC, given an opportunity to comment on it and asked to provide details of your employer or contracting body, so that a full picture can be built about your work. How an investigation progresses will depend on the nature of the complaint, but may include:

  • gathering evidence from the complainant and any other parties;
  • seeking witness statements from the complainant, patients or other witnesses;
  • seeking comments about your work from your employers/colleagues;
  • assessing your health;
  • assessing your knowledge of English;
  • assessing your performance

Once the GMC/GDC has completed its preliminary investigation, there will be another opportunity for you to comment on specific allegations before a decision is made whether to progress your case or to close it with no further action. If a response is required, please contact our team who will ensure that your case is put forward in the best possible light, without the risk of prejudice, which may be caused if you decide to respond yourself.

What sanctions can the GMC/GDC or MPTS impose?
Once the preliminary investigation has been carried out and you have been provided with the opportunity to provide your response, one medical and one non-medical case examiner will make a decision on what action should be taken. This can include:

  • concluding the case with no further action;
  • concluding the case with a letter of advice;
  • issuing a warning;
  • referring you to the MPTS for a Fitness to Practise Panel hearing;
  • offering voluntary conditions on your registration, which must be met, also known as undertakings.

How long do investigations take?

Investigations usually last several months due to the complexity and seriousness of these types of allegations. On occasions, advice is also required from experts, which may elongate proceedings. The GMC/GDC may also ask you to take part in a Performance Assessment, a Health Assessment, or an assessment of your knowledge of English, all of which will add time to the length of any investigation into your fitness to practise. Although we will endeavour to resolve matters as quickly as possible, our main focus is making sure you get the outcome you desire. 

If you would like any more information relating to this article then please feel free to contact us.

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