Produced in partnership with Andrew Hockton of Serjeants’ Inn Chambers

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

  • GMC—sanctions
  • Objectives and proportionality
  • Aggravating and mitigating factors
  • Nature of sanctions
  • Warnings
  • No action
  • Undertakings


Objectives and proportionality

The main reason for imposing sanctions is to protect the public. This is the ‘overarching objective’ which now has statutory footing. It includes protecting the health, safety and well-being of the public; maintaining public confidence in the profession and promoting and maintaining proper professional standards and conduct for members of the profession. Sanctions are not primarily imposed to punish doctors but they may have a punitive effect.

When dealing with the imposition of sanctions the key provisions are to be found in the following:

  1. section 35D of the Medical Act 1983 (MeA 1983)

  2. the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) Sanctions Guidance (identify the applicable guidance document on the MPTS Sanctions Guidance page)

  3. GMC Guidance including on Good Medical Practice, Warnings and Raising and acting on concerns about patient safety

Once a decision had been announced in relation to impairment, a registrant will know whether sanctions are necessary. If no impairment is found, then the GMC may still invite the MPTS to consider imposing a warning, in which case both the GMC and the doctor's representatives would make submissions to the tribunal, followed by advice from the legal assessor, and the tribunal retiring once more to deliberate before announcing their decision (see GMC Guidance on Warnings).

If impairment is found, then the GMC representative will make submissions on sanction not infrequently indicating the minimum sanction sought

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