1. Home
  2. Witnesses
  3. Witness guide to hearings
  4. Support available for witnesses

Support available for witnesses

It’s good to talk, sooner

You should discuss any concerns you have as early as possible.

If the General Medical Council (GMC) has asked you to be a witness, speak to your contact there.

If you’ve been asked to be a witness for the doctor, speak to their legal team – or the doctor if they’re representing themselves. 

They’ll answer any questions you have.

Adjusting to your needs

We know being a witness and giving evidence is an unfamiliar experience. It can be even harder if you have a disability, a medical condition, or you experience difficulty in social situations.

If you’re worried about giving evidence, we may be able to make changes to assist you or put special measures in place to help you give evidence. 

In some circumstances we can:

  • appoint a lawyer to ask you questions in place of the doctor if they represent themselves.
  • supply witness screens to shield you while you give evidence or you may be able to give evidence over a video link
  • arrange an interpreter to attend if you to need to communicate in a language other than English
  • arrange for you to see a hearing room before you give evidence.

For many of these adjustments the relevant legal representative (for the GMC or doctor) must ask the tribunal to decide upon them, so it is important that we are made aware of your needs at the earliest opportunity.

Please talk to your contact for the GMC or doctor as soon as possible.

Get free, independent advice

You can get support from the Independent Support Service. You can use them any time before, during or after a hearing. They’re a confidential, free telephone support service run by Victim Support.  

You can talk to them confidentially about how you’re feeling and what to expect. They can also signpost you to specialist support organisations.

To use this service you can call them on 0300 303 3709.

You can find more information on the Independent Support Service website.

Virtual hearings

We are holding some hearings virtually, using MS Teams.

Our virtual hearings page gives some practical advice on joining and taking part in virtual hearings.