This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Report this comment to a moderator

Please fill in the form below if you think a comment is unsuitable. Your comments will be sent to our moderator for review.

Report comment to moderator

Required fields.


Fitness-to-practise process is 'threatening the lives' of doctors, think-tank warns


I had dealings with the GMC when I was severely depressed and had been under so much stress at work that I had intended to kill myself. Instead I went off sick and sought help. I survived and was punished. The sense of shame is awful and I can't begin to explain what it was like to go through the GMC process when suffering with mental health problems. I already felt that I had let everyone down and then the GMC process reinforced my sick view. I shall never get over it. A proper legal process would have been fairer. At no point did anyone question the motives of the referrer, indeed the GMC specifically said that was not within their remit. I had to attend an interim orders panel pending investigation and later worked with undertakings. The investigation took 9 months and then I had to serve a 'sentence' of over 2 years before the final procedure to let me go started. The case examiner deciding on the timing of this applied guidance to me that was relevant for doctors with drug and alcohol problems though I had neither and did so despite recommendations from my medical supervisors to the contrary. The GMC letter telling me I had at least another 6 months to serve ended with 'if you have any questions etc' . I broke down in tears and shouted 'Yes, I have a question, What about me?' I had already learned though, as the presumed guilty accused, not to phone the GMC. My medical defence union gave me advice at the outset to keep my head down and jump through the hoops in order to get out of the other side as quickly as possible. When I signed my undertakings for continued supervision I had been advised by my solicitor that if I asserted that I was now well then the view would be taken that I must in fact be ill and lacking in insight and would therefore most likely be referred to a Fitness To Practice panel. I could not have survived that. Today I read the Civitas report and BMJ article on the GMC and found that my experience was not unique and a bit more healing has happened. I am here to write this- many are not.

Posted date

24 Jul 2014

Posted time