The solicitors at Wilford Smith are experts at providing representation to professional individuals who find themselves subject to disciplinary or fitness to practice investigations by a regulatory body.
We specialise in acting on behalf of doctors across England and Wales, at all stages of their careers, in respect of all disciplinary matters. Whether you are a medical student or consultant, working in the NHS or in private practice, Wilford Smith’s solicitors will work tirelessly on your behalf to allow you to continue to practice during any investigation, and ensure the best result for you at the conclusion of disciplinary proceedings.
Having represented doctors who have been referred to the General Medical Council (GMC), we understand how difficult it can be to have your fitness to practice questioned, both for you personally and for your career. For these reasons, you need the support of legal experts with in-depth knowledge of the investigation process who can provide you with clear and straight-forward advice at this challenging time. The GMC Defence Solicitors at Wilford Smith have the required skills, knowledge and determination to ruthlessly develop a top-level strategy on your behalf, ensuring the best possible outcome in any investigation. Call us today to see how we can help.
How does the General Medical Council perform its regulatory function?
If you are a practising doctor, either in training or fully qualified, you require to be registered with the General Medical Council. If a complaint is made against you the GMC will carry out its regulatory function by considering the nature of this complaint and deciding whether it is necessary to refer you to a Fitness to Practice hearing with the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS).
On receiving an allegation regarding your fitness to practice, the GMC will provide you with notification of their intention to commence an investigation by way of a GMC Rule 4 letter outlining the allegations against you. You will be given an opportunity to comment on any allegations at this stage, and your response may play an important role later in the investigation as the GMC look to decide whether to close their investigation or to refer it on to the MPTS. If you receive notification of an impending GMC investigation, it is essential to get expert legal advice at the earliest opportunity to help you conduct the strongest possible defence should the matter go on to be referred to a MPTS Fitness to Practice hearing.
How does the General Medical Council carry out its investigations?
The nature of a GMC investigation will depend on the type of complaint. This may involve GMC Case Examiners gathering information from the complainant and other parties, the collecting of witness statements from the complainant and witnesses, collecting statements from your colleagues and employers, and assessing your health and performance. Towards the latter stages of the investigation, you will be issued with a GMC Rule 7 letter setting out the allegations made against you and the evidence collected in support of them. Following this, there will be a 28 day period for you to submit a formal response, which will be taken into the account when a decision is made regarding the outcome of the investigation.
TheGMC Defence Solicitors at Wilford Smith can provide you will expert guidance at this stage of the investigation, advising you on what information should be submitted to Case Examiners to support your position and assisting you with your written response to a Rule 7 letter. With extensive experience in representing clients in relation to GMC investigations, we can advise on the appropriate response giving consideration to your particular circumstances.
What happens after the General Medical Council has carried out its investigation?
Once investigations have been carried out, and following your response to the Rule 7 letter a decision will be made about what action should be taken. Options available to them include:
- Deciding that no further action is required and the case can be concluded
- Concluding the case with a letter of advice
- Issuing a warning
- Making a referral to the MPTS for a Fitness to Practice Panel hearing
- Offering conditions on your registration which you must meet, known as undertakings
If you are issued with a warning, this will be published on the List of Registered Medical Practitioners for a period of five years, and will remain available to future employers indefinitely. If you wish to challenge a warning, Wilford Smith’sGMC Defence Solicitors can advise on the merits of taking your case before the GMC’s Investigations Committee and preparing for the subsequent hearing if you wish to do so.
If your case goes before the MPTS Fitness to Practice Panel and your fitness to practice is found to be impaired, the Panel can:
- Impose conditions on your registration for a period of up to three years
- Suspend your registration for up to 12 months
- Erase your name from the medical register and bar you from being able to re-apply for registration for up to five years
If you find yourself subject to an MPTS Fitness to Practice hearing, our team of solicitors can work on your behalf to ensure that your case is prepared in a comprehensive manner, and that all relevant arguments are made on your behalf in order to offer you the strongest possible defence to the charges made against you.
Why choose Wilford Smith?
We provide our clients with a service that is exceptionally strategic and results driven, ensuring that you are given clear, straight-forward and jargon-free advice throughout any GMC investigation. Our specialistGMC Defence Solicitors take pride in their reputation for unique representation, giving you a service that is exceptionally strategic and results driven.
Contact our GMC Defence Solicitors, England and Wales
OurGMC Defence Solicitors are based in Sheffield and London and service clients throughout England and Wales. Contact us today on 0808 169 5677 to find out how we can help.