The General Medical Council, or GMC, is a regulatory organisation that focuses on ensuring that doctors practice while abiding by a set of professional rules of conduct. If a patient accuses a doctor of breaching those rules, then the doctor will be investigated by the General Medical Council.
The GMC’s goal is to protect the safety of patients, and to maintain the public’s confidence in the medical profession.
Most doctors are honest, ethical and behave in a professional manner at all times. Sadly, there are some doctors who do practice in dangerous or unethical ways. There are also patients who may act maliciously, and accuse doctors who are doing things “by the book” of bad behavior. When a patient or a family member has a grudge against a doctor, it is important that the doctor has good representation to ensure that the law is followed properly and that they can get their name cleared by the solicitors.
The Role of Solicitors in a Tribunal
Most false accusations are caught early. Some may require more investigation, for example to determine whether the doctor needs to undergo further training or to work under supervision for a while. This may happen in the case of serious accusations where it was found that the doctor acted in a way that was not malicious, but perhaps did make a minor mistake.
GMC fitness to practice solicitors will represent doctors at a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service. These tribunals will have the case heard by a group of doctors as well as lay members, who can assess the evidence and make an independent decision regarding the accusations.
In the most serious of cases, where it is found that a doctor was acting in a way that posed a risk to his or her patients, the doctor may be struck off – which means that they will not be permitted to practice medicine in the UK.
If you are a doctor who is facing such allegations, do not panic. Your first step should be to find a solicitor and to get advice about the case. You should already have insurance that you can claim on to access the medico-legal support that you need, and if you have been acting within the ethical guidance issued by the GMC then you should have nothing to worry about. The best practice guidelines that you had drummed into you while getting qualified exist precisely for this reason – to protect you from false allegations.