The disciplinary and regulatory powers of the GMC
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:

  • The disciplinary and regulatory powers of the GMC
  • The role of the GMC
  • Fitness to practise
  • The GMC's fitness to practise procedures
  • The statutory grounds of impairment
  • Misconduct
  • Deficient medical performance
  • Convictions
  • Evidence of impairment outside the UK

The disciplinary and regulatory powers of the GMC

The role of the GMC

The General Medical Council (GMC) is the independent regulator for doctors in the UK.

The legal basis of the GMC's power derives from the Medical Act 1983 (as amended) (MeA 1983).

Its statutory powers are given effect through the General Medical Council (Fitness to Practise Rules) Order of Council 2004 (GMC Fitness to Practise Rules 2004), SI 2004/2608, Guidance to the Rules 2004, and other ancillary rules and regulations.

MeA 1983, s 1(1A) provides that the over-arching objective of the GMC in exercising their functions is the protection of the public. The pursuit of this objective involves:

  1. to protect, promote and maintain the health, safety, and well-being of the public

  2. to promote and maintain public confidence in the medical professions, and

  3. to promote and maintain proper professional standards and conduct for members of that profession

In fulfilling its role the GMC:

  1. maintains a register of qualified doctors

  2. sets standards of medical practice

  3. promotes high standards of medical education and training

  4. investigates doctors whose 'fitness to practise' is called into question, and

  5. if necessary, refers cases to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) for adjudication

The GMC cannot:

  1. order a doctor to provide treatment

  2. fine a doctor

  3. order a doctor to apologise, or

  4. assist a patient with a claim for compensation

Fitness to practise

Fitness to practise is a fundamental requirement

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