The General Medical Council (GMC) will launch an investigation whenever a doctors fitness to practice comes into question. This investigative process can be lengthy, and emotionally and financially-draining.
In 2015 alone, GMC launched 2,306 fitness to practice investigations that were based on 9,418 enquiries submitted to the council. The total number of doctors erased from the GMC register as a result of the complaint increased fro 71 in 2014 to 72 in 2015. There were also 95 suspensions another disciplinary action that the GMC can undertake in the case of a violation.
Knowing that youre being investigated can be nerve-wracking. You will question your professional future and youll probably feel clueless about the steps to undertake. A fitness to practice defence solicitor can guide you through the process and be there with you during every step of the way.
The Numerous GMC Investigation Steps
The GMC investigation will consist of multiple steps aimed at determining the physicians fitness to practice following a complaint.
If there is enough evidence of malpractice or unacceptable/criminal behaviour, GMC will request a performance assessment. In this case, a selected panel of medical experts will work on evaluating the standard of performance delivered by the respective physician. A peer review will be provided and the doctor will be acquainted with the outcome of the assessment (for the purpose of responding to it).
Depending on the circumstances, a health assessment could also be ordered. Such an evaluation will be needed whenever there are concerns about the wellbeing of the doctor. A medical condition could interfere with their performance and ability to offer patients reliable care.
Following these steps, the GMC may decide that the complaint was unfounded or that it merits further investigation. The doctor will be notified of the evidence gathered so far. Once this information is provided, a doctor will have 28 days to respond to the allegations, the peer reviews and the evidence gathered against them.
Your Defence Choice Could Determine the Outcome of the Investigation
As you’ve seen in the beginning of this article, the vast majority of GMC investigations in 2015 did not contribute to disciplinary actions against doctors. In fact, only 7.2 per cent of the physicians under investigation were either erased from the GMC register or were given a suspension.
Still, complaints against a medical professional should never be taken lightly because they could end a promising career.
The first thing to do after youre notified about the GMC investigation is call a team of fitness to practice defence solicitors. These legal professionals specialise in GMC investigations and they know what it takes to represent a doctor. Even if you know that you have not done anything wrong, having someone to guide you through the multiple steps is going to give you peace of mind and confidence in the positive outcome of the investigation. Do not try to handle the case alone. Get an experienced GMC defence solicitor to guide you through the process.