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GMC Solicitors

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Being referred to the GMC can seem like the end of your career as a doctor is looming, no matter how dedicated and hard-working you have been as a medical professional. However, you can negotiate GMC proceedings and investigations successfully with the support of our team of GMC solicitors at Pearl Lemon Legal. We are proud of our commitment to our clients, our attention to detail, and our practical attitude and have achieved excellent results in such cases.

 

We understand that being referred to the GMC may cause you a great deal of anxiety and stress. Professional disciplinary actions may have a significant impact on your good name and ability to practise, and we are aware of the magnitude of them. Our GMC solicitors will pay close attention to what you have to say, take the time to fully comprehend your case’s circumstances, and then exert all effort to get the best results for you.

Who Pearl Lemon Legal Can Help

  • As experienced GMC solicitors, the Pearl Lemon Legal team have – and can – represent a number of different client demographics:


    • Doctors of medicine at all levels
    • Medical students who must appear before university hearings to determine their fitness to practise
    • NHS doctors
    • Private practise physicians
    • Any physician whose competence to practise medicine is allegedly compromised and who have been reported to the General Medical Council (GMC) for investigation.

    The knowledgeable healthcare solicitors at Pearl Lemon Legal have also successfully defended nurses and midwives in the midst of NMC fitness to practise investigations.

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Basics of GMC Investigations: Fitness to Practice

The GMC will look into the matter if they receive a referral casting doubt on a doctor’s “fitness to practise.”

 

It may be determined that a doctor’s ability and fitness to practise medicine is compromised for some or all of the following reasons:

 

  • Either personal or professional misconduct.
  • Unsatisfactory work performance.
  • Health issues, either physical or mental, can interfere with practising.
  • Receipt of a caution or a criminal charge.
  • Being considered not to have the English language skills necessary for legally practising medicine in the UK.
  • A decision made by a different formal regulatory body, whether situated in the UK or somewhere abroad.

 

After receiving a referral regarding a doctor, the GMC will determine if they are impaired and no longer fit to practise. A preliminary investigation will be done before they:

 

  • Triage the situation and resolve it without penalty.
  • Send the case to the examiners so they can look into it and make a decision.
  • Directly refer it to an MPT (Medical Practitioners Tribunal) for adjudication.

Investigations by the GMC: What to Expect

If you have been referred to the GMC, you should seek specialised legal advice from a GMC solicitor as soon as possible. Many issues can be resolved quickly and with little, if any, negative career effects if the right tactical decisions and carefully prepared formal responses are made.

 

You will get a notice from the GMC informing you that a complaint has been made, and you will have the chance to respond. Although a response is not necessary at this time, it is advisable to speak with an experienced GMC attorney to decide whether you ought to offer a statement at this time.

 

The GMC will carry out an investigation to decide if a case has to be sent to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service.

 

Depending on the particulars of the case, the GMC will collect different types of evidence. Medical records, witness testimony from the complainant, employers, or coworkers, assessments of your performance or health from professionals, and your alleged grasp of the English language could all be part of this.

 

The GMC will then send you a letter (known as a rule 7 letter) outlining the complaints’ assertions and asking for your response after this procedure is finished. You have 28 days from the date of this letter to respond.

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However, when working with GMC solicitors like those on the Pearl Lemon Legal team, this time can be spent coming up with the best possible solutions and responses to the information and assertions in the complaint.

 

The GMC anticipates that physicians will exhibit comprehension, introspection, and make a remedial effort to rectify any weaknesses. Being able to formally establish such comprehension and the aim for correction frequently leads to a better conclusion, and our knowledgeable GMC solicitors will work to make sure you can achieve that.

 

A medical expert and a lay member are then assigned to each GMC investigation, and they will study the case and all relevant supporting materials, including any submissions you may have made.

 

One of the following courses of action will be chosen by the Case Examiners:

 

  • Closing the case and declining to take action
  • Give a warning and broker an agreement on the remedial duties you have to carry out (for example, practising under supervision or restricting areas of practice).
  • Send the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service the case for a hearing on fitness to practise.

Basics of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS)

After the matter has been sent to the MPTS to schedule a hearing, the registrar may carry out extra investigation to thoroughly prepare it for the hearing.

 

You will have the chance to take part in the GMC’s pre-hearing procedures, which include setting up a disclosure schedule and a hearing appointment window.

 

An MPTS panel is composed of at least one lay member, one medical tribunal member, and a chair, who may be a chair with legal credentials.

 

The GMC will offer evidence in support of any contested allegation(s) and submit written arguments. Both parties may next make arguments for the facts they think should be confirmed based on the evidence the MPT has received.

 

The MPT then assesses the disputed facts to see if they can be confirmed.

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The MPT considers additional information and hears arguments, first from the GMC’s representative and then from you, to decide whether the facts determined to be true have an impact on your fitness to practise medicine. When any or all of the facts are admitted or determined to be true, this occurs.

 

If the MPT finds that you are still fit to practise, it could inquire as to whether a warning is appropriate.

 

The MPT will next hear additional testimony and arguments from both parties regarding the proper punishment if it deems that your fitness to practise is affected.

 

In the event that a GMC lawyer is retained at this point in the examination into your fitness to practise, their advice and knowledge will be of great value. They may offer you the legal expertise you need to dispute claims as well as suggestions on how to best express your points.

GMC Sanctions Basics

After hearing all the testimony and arguments, the MPT will decide whether or not to sanction your registration. It will announce its choice in a public meeting and must give an explanation.

 

In the event that the MPT chooses to sanction your registration, it will then determine whether to suspend it immediately or not after receiving more submissions. The decision to issue an urgent order will then be made.

 

The least severe punishment necessary to ensure the public’s safety must be imposed by the tribunal if it finds that your fitness to practise is compromised.

 

There are many acceptable sanctions from which to choose. They may impose conditions on your registration for up to three years, suspend your registration for up to twelve months, or order that your name be deleted from the medical register, unless the allegations are principally connected to your health or your command of the English language.

 

If your name is struck from the medical register, you won’t be allowed to apply for re-registration for at least 5 years. A doctor who receives a sanction has 28 days to file an appeal with the High Court after learning of it. The GMC has the option of contesting decisions made by the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service.

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What Pearl Lemon Legal Can Do for You

One of our legal healthcare specialities is defending medical practitioners who have been reported to their regulating authority. We provide a platinum service that includes sound, strategic advice and demonstrates a strong work ethic, tenacity, and a drive for success.

 

Our experienced GMC solicitors offer a bespoke service that is catered to the specifics of each case, but the following are some of the typical ways in which our GMC solicitors assist doctors under investigation by the GMC:

 

  • Representing medical professionals facing criminal charges in court and at the police station.
  • Providing wise, strategic advice.
  • Representing medical personnel in the midst of a probe.
  • Recommending whether warnings and obligations are appropriate.
  • Providing knowledgeable direction for GMC investigations.
  • Writing letters in response to a letter under rule 7.
  • Assistance at interim order tribunal proceedings.
  • Representation at MPTS hearings on practitioner fitness.
  • Provide legal representation for High Court appeals regarding MPTS punishments.

To explore your situation and learn how we might help, get in touch with us today. We can modify our services to satisfy the particular requirements of each client. Frequently, this also entails offering post-investigation legal assistance, particularly in the field of reputation management.

 

Even if an accusation is unfounded, the damage it can inflict to a doctor’s reputation can be difficult to repair since long after the case is resolved, search results may still show media stories of any investigations or simple social media comments.

 

Through our affiliation with the wider Pearl Lemon Group, Pearl Lemon Legal is able to provide solid reputation management assistance from both our solicitors and a team of PR and digital marketing experts.

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