Fitness to Practise solicitors specialise in defending doctors accused of breaching the professional rules of conduct set out by the General Medical Council - the regulatory organisation for doctors in the U.K. All doctors in the U.K, practising or in training, are required to register with the General Medical Council. The GMC is responsible specifically for regulating all General Practitioners and Specialists, both private and working for the NHS. Other healthcare professionals are regulated by their own respective regulatory bodies.
Doctors and specialists in the U.K. may face investigation by the GMC based on allegations that their fitness to practise is impaired. These allegations could be based on misconduct, health, deficient professional performance, or knowledge of the English language, among others. Conviction following an investigation may lead to a Fitness to Practise hearing by an MPTS Panel.
As a doctor, having your fitness to practise questioned can be extremely stressful, particularly as the outcome may result in losing the ability to earn a living, not to mention your professional status. If allegations are proved to be true it may result in conditions being imposed on your GMC registration, suspension of your GMC registration, or even erasure from the Medical Register. All of these outcomes can have a devastating effect on your career and your life.
What to do when faced with a GMC investigation.
If you have received notification from the GMC regarding allegations against you, an investigation will be conducted regarding your fitness to practise. At this stage, many doctors make the mistake of first contacting the GMC before consulting a solicitor. By speaking to the GMC, you may inadvertently prejudice your case and anything you say may be used against you in future proceedings. Your first response should be to contact an expert defence solicitor to immediately review your particular circumstances and ensure that you are given expert assistance on the correct procedure to follow.
What does a Fitness to Practise Solicitor Do?
As soon as you have received an official letter from the GMC informing you of the complaint, an investigation will be conducted. You will be required to provide the GMC with information needed to build a complete profile of you and your medical work.
Professional discipline solicitors will handle your case confidentially and sensitively. Throughout the proceedings, you will be provided with professional legal advice and assistance, from the initial investigative inquiries to the final Fitness to Practise hearing. A team of expert professionals will put their knowledge and years of experience at your disposal to ensure that you are represented in the best possible way and that you and your medical practice are protected. Some of these services include:
- Preparing substantive responses on your behalf - Preparing for and providing legal representation at MPTS hearings - Providing assistance on the acceptance of undertakings and warnings - Appealing to the High Court on your behalf following an MPTS decision - Advising on relevant legislation - Advising and preparing for Barring and Disclosure List representations - Advising on evidence provided to the Coroners Court such as witness statements
If you are involved in allegations regarding your fitness to practise, hire a solicitor to ensure that your case will be put forward for the best possible outcome, without risk of prejudice.