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GPs go forth

Fitness-to-practise panel to become more independent from GMC

The GMC’s fitness-to-practise hearing panel is set to gain further independence from the regulator’s investigative functions ‘to enhance public and professional confidence’ in medical regulation, following a DH consultation.

The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS), which was established by the GMC to make decisions over doctors’ fitness-to-practise cases, is set to become a statutory committee of the GMC to ‘enhance the separation’ between the regulator’s role in investigating complaints and the role of deciding on the outcome of FTP hearings.

The DH’s conclusions stated: ‘The consultation responses demonstrated strong support for the principle of enhancing the separation between the GMC’s role in investigating fitness to practise concerns and its role in adjudicating on whether those concerns amount to impaired fitness to practise.

‘In view of the responses received, and incorporating the changes discussed above, we consider that establishing the MPTS as a statutory committee is the best way to enhance and protect the separation between the investigation and adjudication roles while retaining the adjudication function with the GMC.’

The move to grant MPTS greater independence from the GMC comes after the largest ever study on complaints revealed that doctors are more likely to do practise defensively following a complaint.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Vinci Ho

    Nigel , please provide more information on the mechanism this MPTS will serve its function .

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  • Much more importantly BMJ Careers is also reporting that DH has agreed that the GMC can claim costs against doctors who 'had failed to follow its rules or who demonstrated unreasonable behaviour'. The GMC will now be able to appeal MPTS decisions in the High Courts. I have not checked this on the DH website so cannot say whether there is a reasoned analysis of who is going to pay for these appeals, what the criteria will be for making appeals and to whom the GMC will be accountable for using their budget in this manner….

    There were 81 responses to the DH consultation - 70% did not agree with the proposal to allow the GMC to appeal decisions. The PSA can of course also appeal the MPTS decisions as previously.

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  • So MPTS, effective a branch of GMC, can be challenged and be made to pay the costs to it's parent body?

    Wow that makes it really independent.
    "Sorry doc, it's a lot easier for me to condemn you as an individual then to risk upsetting our parent organization and to incur a substantial cost. Although we had no proof of your misconduct, on balance of probability we will sentence you to 30 years in the mining for you then doc.

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