During a medical practitioners tribunal, the tribunal considers all the evidence to decide whether a doctor’s fitness to practise is impaired and, if so, what sanction may be needed to protect patients. We will tell you when and where the hearing is to take place and at the end of the hearing we will let you know the outcome. The GMC will present the case against you to the tribunal.
The environment of a tribunal hearing is likely to be unfamiliar. These pages explain what to expect before, during and after the hearing. For example, you might not know that you have a right to come to the hearing, to be represented by a lawyer or another person, to present evidence and to call and cross-examine witnesses.
If you are being represented by a solicitor or defence organisation, they will carry out on your behalf many of the actions set out in the following pages – however, you might still find this information helpful. If you are representing yourself, it could be particularly useful.
If you have a disability, we will make reasonable adjustments so that you can take part in the hearing. Let us know as soon as possible if you have any particular needs.
If you are a member of a medical defence organisation (MDO) and are being assisted by them, or have organised your own legal representation, your lawyer will be able to give you information and advice about the hearing. If you are a member of an MDO and have not already contacted the organisation, you should do so.
If you are not legally represented
You should consider being advised and represented by solicitors who have experience of MPTS hearings. They will know how to prepare your case and present the information that the tribunal needs.
If you do not have support from an MDO and cannot afford to pay for legal representation, you might be able to get free legal assistance. The Bar Pro Bono Unit is a charity that helps find free legal assistance from volunteer barristers.
If you can’t get legal representation, please let us know as soon as possible so we can help you understand what will be expected of you, that is, if you intend to present your own case.
You may be represented by someone from any professional organisation of which you are a member.
You may decide you would like a family member or other person to represent you. At the beginning of the hearing, the tribunal will decide if they are a fit and proper person to do so. To help reach this decision, the tribunal will consider any available information, including the person’s criminal record and history. You can find a guide explaining who is suitable to provide representation at www.mpts-uk.org/guidance.
The medical practitioners tribunal hearing
We will organise your hearing. We will schedule the case and send you the notice of the hearing and we will let you know the outcome of the hearing.
The GMC will present the case against you to the medical practitioners tribunal. Before the hearing, the GMC will disclose its evidence, for example expert reports, to you or your legal representative. At this stage, you will also need to disclose your evidence to the GMC.
The following pages explain the process leading up to, during and after the hearing in more detail.
The Doctor Support Service
Having your fitness to practise investigated can be a very stressful experience, and some doctors find it particularly difficult. The GMC has commissioned the British Medical Association (BMA) Doctors for Doctors service to provide independent, confidential and emotional support to any doctor involved in a fitness to practise case – you don’t have to be a member of the BMA to use it.
The free service is run on a peer support basis so the people you speak to will be doctors themselves.
You can contact them on their dedicated telephone line for support and, with sufficient notice, your supporter can accompany you for up to two days of the hearing. Call 020 7383 6707 or email email@example.com.
Hearings procedure factsheets
We have produced a series of 15 factsheets to help doctors prepare for their hearing. These are available on our website, in paper copy, on request, and at our hearing centre.
To see the full range of factsheets – go to www.mpts-uk.org/unrepdoctors.
Hearings procedure telephone information service
This service is open to all doctors and is free of charge. It is run by student volunteers from the BPP Law School and the University of Law. You can use the service to:
- learn about the hearing process, including the key stages
- help prepare for your hearing
- find out what to expect at the hearing centre on the day of your hearing.
Full details of the service are available at www.mpts-uk.org/telephoneinfoservice.