GMC Lawyers

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Our team of GMC lawyers at Pearl Lemon Legal has the expertise and experience to help you navigate GMC proceedings and investigations. We take pride in our dedication to our clients, meticulous attention to detail, and pragmatic outlook.

 

We recognise the concern and worry that being referred to the “GMC Lawyers” GMC may bring on in you. We are aware that professional disciplinary actions may have a profound impact on your reputation and ability to practise. Our GMC lawyers will listen to you, take the time to understand all the circumstances of your case and then do our utmost to secure the best possible outcomes for you.

Who Our GMC Lawyers Can Help:

  • Practitioners of medicine at all levels;
  • Medical students who must face university fitness to practise hearings
  • Practitioners of medicine who are employed by the NHS;
  • Practitioners of medicine who are in private practise;
  • Physicians who have been reported to the General Medical Council (GMC) for investigation about claims that their fitness to practise medicine is compromised.

In addition to representing and advocating for medical professionals facing GMC investigations, the skilled healthcare lawyers at Pearl Lemon Legal have also successfully represented nurses and midwives facing NMC fitness to practise investigations.

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Fitness to Practice GMC Investigations Basics

If the GMC receives a referral putting a doctor’s “fitness to practise” in doubt, they will investigate the situation.

 

A doctor’s ability to practise medicine may be determined to be compromised for any or all of the following reasons:

 

  • Misconduct on a personal or professional level.
  • Mediocre performance on the job.
  • Physical or mental health concerns affecting the ability to practise.
  • A caution or criminal conviction.
  • Not possessing the proficiency in English required to safely practise medicine in the UK.
  • A verdict reached by another regulatory agency, whether based in the UK or elsewhere.

 

The GMC will evaluate whether a doctor is impaired after receiving a referral regarding them. They will conduct preliminary research before they:

 

  • Finalise the situation at the triage level.
  • Send the issue to the Case Examiners for investigation and a ruling
  • Send it straight to a Medical Practitioners Tribunal (MPT) for resolution.

GMC Investigations: What To Expect

You should promptly get specialised legal counsel from “GMC Lawyers” if you have been referred to the GMC. If the appropriate tactical choices and carefully crafted formal responses are made, many matters can be resolved early on and with minimal, if any, negative consequences for your career.

 

The GMC Lawyers will notify you in writing that a complaint has been lodged, and you will be given the opportunity to comment. Although a response is not required at this time, it is prudent to consult a knowledgeable GMC lawyer to determine if you should make a statement at this time.

 

In order to determine whether a case should be forwarded to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service, the GMC will conduct an investigation.

 

The GMC will gather various forms of evidence depending on the specifics of the case. Medical documents, witness statements from the complainant, employers, or coworkers, expert opinions and evaluations of your performance or health.

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Once this process is completed, the GMC will then send you a letter (known as a rule 7 letter) in which it will outline the complaints’ claims and invite your response. 28 days can pass before you must reply to this letter.

 

According to Good Medical Practice paragraph 23a, doctors should participate with GMC investigations, however, when working with GMC lawyers, like those experts on the Pearl Lemon Legal team this time can be spent formulating the best possible responses.

 

The GMC expects doctors to demonstrate understanding, reflection, and action to address any shortcomings. A better outcome is frequently the result of being able to formally demonstrate such understanding and the intention for correction, and our experienced GMC lawyers will help ensure that you can do that.

 

Each GMC investigation is then assigned two case examiners—one medical expert and one lay member—who will then review the case and the supporting documentation, including any and all submissions made by you.

The Case Examiners will select one of the following:

 

  • Choosing not to act and closing the case
  • Issue a warning
  • Broker an agreement on tasks you must perform with you (for example, practising under supervision or restricting areas of practice).
  • Forward the case for a hearing on fitness to practise to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service.

 

Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) Basics

 

The registrar may conduct additional research to thoroughly prepare the matter for hearing after it has been referred to the MPTS to set up a hearing.

 

You will be given the opportunity to participate in the GMC’s pre-hearing procedures, which include establishing a schedule for disclosure and an appointment window for the hearing.

 

A minimum of one lay member, one member of the medical tribunal, and a chair, who may be a chair with legal qualifications, make up an MPTS panel.

 

Regarding any disputed allegation(s), the GMC will provide supporting documentation and submit written arguments. After that, based on the evidence the MPT has received, both parties may submit arguments for the facts they believe should be confirmed.

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The MPT then evaluates the contested facts and determines whether they are proven.

 

The MPT reviews more evidence and hears arguments, first from the GMC’s representative and then from you, to determine if your fitness to practise is affected based on the facts found proven. This happens when part or all of the facts are acknowledged or found proven.

 

If the MPT determines that you are still fit to practise, it may ask for input on whether you should receive a warning.

 

If the MPT determines that your ability to practise is compromised, it will then hear additional testimony and arguments from both parties regarding the appropriate sanctions.

 

The assistance and expertise of a GMC lawyer will prove invaluable should an investigation into your fitness to practise proceed to this stage. Not only can they provide the legal knowledge required to refute allegations, but also advise on the best way to present your arguments.

Understanding GMC Sanctions

The MPT will decide whether to sanction your registration after hearing the testimony and arguments. In an open meeting, it will declare its decision and must provide justification.

If the MPT decides to sanction your registration, it will subsequently solicit additional submissions over whether to immediately suspend it. After that, it will decide whether or not to issue an urgent order.

If the tribunal determines that your ability to practise is affected, they must impose the least severe penalty required to guarantee the safety of the public.

There are various accepted sanctions available to be chosen from. Unless allegations are primarily related to your health or your command of the English language, they can impose conditions on your registration for up to three years, suspend your registration for up to twelve months, or order that your name be removed from the medical register.

You won’t be able to submit an application for re-registration for at least 5 years if your name is removed from the medical register. A doctor who receives a sanction may appeal it to the High Court, but only within 28 days after receiving it. The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service’s rulings may be challenged by the GMC as well.

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How Pearl Lemon Legal Can Help

The defence of medical professionals who have been referred to their regulatory body is a specialty of ours. We offer a platinum service that entails solid, strategic counsel, hard work, persistence, and a desire to succeed.

 

Our GMC lawyers provide a personalised service that is tailored to the particulars of each case but the following are some of the most common ways in which our knowledgeable GMC Lawyers assist doctors under investigation by the GMC:

 

  • Representing physicians who have been charged with crimes, both in court and at the police station.
  • Giving sound, strategic counsel.
  • Representing medical professionals under fire during an investigation.
  • Advising on the appropriateness of warnings and commitments.
  • Providing expert guidance on GMC investigations.
  • Composing letters in response to a rule 7 letter.
  • Assistance at hearings before interim order tribunals.
  • Representation at fitness-to-practice hearings before the MPTS.
  • Providing counsel for High Court appeals against MPTS sanctions.

Please contact us to discuss your issue and find out how we can help. We can customise our service to meet the unique demands of each client. This often also includes providing post investigation legal help, especially in the area of reputation management.

The damage that an unproven accusation can cause to a doctor’s reputation can be difficult to overcome, even when they are not sanctioned in any way, as media reports of any investigation, or simple social media commenting, remain in search results long after the case is over.

At Pearl Lemon Legal we offer robust reputation management advice, both from our lawyers and an associated team of PR and digital marketing specialists via our association with the larger Pearl Lemon Group.

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