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Independents' Day

GMC brings in new rules to simplify fitness to practise hearings

The GMC has said it will speed up and simplify fitness to practise hearings through 15 new rules introduced today.

From today, the regulator will improve arrangements for witnesses to submit evidence by video or telephone, ensurie witnesses are told in advance if they need to give evidence in person and will remove the need to read out the written allegations at the start of a hearing.

This follows the establishment of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) last year which now runs all hearings for GPs whose fitness to practise is called into question and is independent from the GMC.

The new rules followed a GMC consultation that ran from 14 May to 6 August last year. Participants included medical defence organisations, groups representing doctors, groups representing patients, royal colleges, solicitors and members of the public.

In March, Pulse reported the Government is working with the GMC to introduce draft legislation for consultation that would give the GMC the right to appeal tribunal decisions, in a move that the GPC has said could lead to ‘double jeopardy’.

Mr Niall Dickson, chief executive of the GMC, said the rules will simplify things for all parties involved in hearings.

He said: ‘We are determined to create a modern, efficient and fair system which protects patients but does not get bogged down in outdated, unnecessary and time consuming procedures.

‘We made a great start last year by creating the MPTS and these new rules will help us to deliver a quicker, simpler and less stressful system for doctors, complainants and witnesses. There is more to do but this is another significant milestone in our reform programme.’

Readers' comments (2)

  • The GMC will never be a fair system until they return to guilty beyond reasonable doubt and ensure that the panel is a majority of registered practitioners.

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  • It was bad enough having the charges change like shifting sand throughout the hearing, but not having them stated at all as seems to be suggested, would be really awful - submitted as one who has been there and been found 'not guilty'

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