GMC—investigations
Produced in partnership with Andrew Hockton of Serjeants Inn Chambers
GMC—investigations

The following Corporate Crime guidance note Produced in partnership with Andrew Hockton of Serjeants Inn Chambers provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • GMC—investigations
  • Initial investigation
  • Referral of allegations to case examiners
  • Referral for adjudication
  • Referral to Interim Orders Tribunal
  • Advising a doctor subject to investigation

Initial investigation

The General Medical Council (GMC) normally only investigates complaints that could require action to remove or restrict a doctor's right to practice.

Where a doctor's fitness to practise or suitability to retain unrestricted registration as a doctor is not in issue, the Registrar of the GMC may conclude the complaint or refer the case to the doctor's employers for the matter to be investigated locally.

If the Registrar considers that the allegation falls within one of the statutory grounds of impairment, he or she must refer the matter to a medical and a lay case examiner to consider the information available and to determine the next step in accordance with the GMC (Fitness to Practise) Rules 2004 (GMC Fitness to Practice Rule 2004), SI 2004/2608. See Practice Note: The GMC case examiners.

The statutory grounds of impairment are set out in section 35C(2) of the Medical Act 1983 (MeA 1983).

They are:

  1. misconduct

  2. deficient professional performance

  3. a conviction or caution for a criminal offence

  4. adverse physical or mental health, or

  5. a determination by another relevant body that fitness is impaired

See Practice Note: The disciplinary and regulatory powers of the GMC.

Before deciding to refer an allegation to the case examiners, the Registrar may carry out investigations or enquiries that he considers are appropriate.

These may include:

  1. obtaining documentary evidence from employers, the complainant