Issue 39 October 2021 - Journal - Page 49
Cases are either designated as 6-Month Cases or
9-Month Cases depending on whether the GMC’s investigation, case preparation, and disclosure are completed before or after the Case Examiners’ decision.
Hearings in 6-Month Cases should start within six
months of that decision, whereas hearings in 9-Month
Cases should start within nine months.
If the tribunal finds that the allegation is proved but
that the doctor’s fitness to practise is not impaired, the
proceedings will conclude, with or without a warning
on the doctor’s registration.
If the tribunal finds that the allegation is proved
and the doctor’s fitness to practise is impaired, it will
continue to consider what sanction to impose.
Case management procedures apply to all matters
before the MPT. Case management is intended to ensure that cases are heard within their target timescales
and usually takes place during a telephone conference
and/or pre-hearing meeting. Hearings take place at
the MPTS hearing centre in Manchester, although in
certain circumstances, participants may appear
remotely by video or telephone.
A wide range of sanctions are available, including the
l undertakings between the doctor and GMC
l conditions on the doctor’s registration
l suspending the doctor from the medical register
for a fixed period
l erasure of the doctor from the medical register
(normally for life)
Case management is the responsibility of a Case
Manager. The process includes agreeing hearing dates
and directions in relation to when the parties must
disclose any evidence they propose to rely on.
Both the doctor and GMC have 28 days to lodge an
appeal against any decision of the tribunal. Appeals
are heard by the High Court or the Court of Session.
Participation in case management procedures is
voluntary however it is strongly in the interests of any
doctor subject to proceedings to ensure they are represented during this process. If a party does not comply with directions made during the case management
process, the MPT has discretion to draw adverse inferences, refuse to admit late evidence, and to award costs.
David Hardstaff is an associate solicitor at BCL
specialising in criminal and regulatory law. He also
advises individuals and companies in relation to
controlled drug licensing and AML/Proceeds of Crime
considerations in the context of the domestic and international cannabis markets. He has particular experience in advising and representing individuals
accused of sexual offences, drugs offences and
offences involving violence.
Interim Orders Tribunals
Upon application by the GMC, the MPT has the
power to impose interim orders restricting a doctor’s
practice while an investigation and proceedings are
underway. In seeking restrictions, the GMC must set
out the reasons why it is necessary to make or review
an interim order.
Interim Orders Tribunals (IOT) are made of three
tribunal members, one medical and one non-medical.
The tribunal may make or review interim orders in person during a hearing, or following a review on the papers
provided the GMC and doctor are in agreement.
Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon
DM, MCh, FRCS
Although subject to periodic review, interim orders
imposed at an early stage in proceedings may remain
in place for a significant period of time. Early advice
and assistance in avoiding the imposition of interim
orders that are disproportionate or unfair is crucial.
Special interest in scarring
disfigurement relating to
trauma and burn injury,
post-surgical pain &
Fitness to Practise Tribunals
Fitness to practise hearings take place before an MPT,
usually at the MPTS hearing centre in Manchester. As
with IOTs, which consider interim orders, MPTs are
made up of three members and include at least one
medical and non-medical member.
In certain circumstances participants can appear
remotely however it is generally expected that the
parties, legal representatives, and witnesses will
attend in person.
McIndoe Surgical Centre
Holtye Road, East Grinstead,
West Sussex RH19 3EB
Tel: 01825 741100 Fax: 01825 740 935
DX: 117779 FOREST ROW
The tribunal will come to a determination in relation
any factual issues having heard all the relevant evidence in the case. This can include live evidence from
witnesses and experts, and documentary evidence
presented by the parties. On hearing the evidence, the
tribunal decides whether the alleged facts are proved
on the balance of probabilities.
If the tribunal finds that the allegation is not proved,
the proceedings will conclude without any finding
against the doctor.
EXPERT WITNESS JOURNAL
Face-to-Face, Remote and Home consultation available.
Consultations also available at:
Cadogan Clinic, 120 Sloane Street, Chelsea, London SW1X 9BW
King Edward VII Hospital Sister Agnes,
Emmanuel Kaye House, London W1G 6QA
Nuffield Hospital, Haywards Heath, Sussex RH16 1UD
O C TO B E R 2 0 2 1