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FTP Hearings

GMC FTP hearings (fitness to practise hearings) – Specialist legal advice for healthcare professionals‎

At Lexadeen Solicitors we have represented countless number of doctors in respect of both FTP hearings and appeals and fitness to practise hearings.

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Lexadeen Solicitors - Manchester - Cheshire- Staffordshire

The GMC convenes FTP hearings to decide whether a doctor’s fitness to practice is impaired. It is the GMC which brings the case against the doctor.

The GMC panel of medical and non-medical people is appointed to inquire into impaired fitness to practise allegations.

In addition to the chairman, who may be medical or non-medical, there must be at least one medical and one non-medical panellist on each panel.

Legal assessors sit amongst the panel and advise on points of law, including the procedure and powers of the panel.

Fitness to practise panel hears the evidence;

During FTP hearings, the panel hears the evidence. Once they have heard it, they must decide:

  • Whether the facts alleged, have been found proved
  • Whether based on the facts found proved, the doctor’s fitness to practice is impaired
  • If so, should any action be taken against the doctor’s registration?

Impaired doctor’s fitness to practice

If, during the fitness to practise hearing, the panel concludes that the doctor’s fitness to practise is impaired, the following sanctions are available:

  • To take no action
  • Accept undertakings offered by the doctor, provided the panel is satisfied that such undertakings protect patients and the wider public interest.
  • To place conditions on the doctor’s registration.
  • To suspend the doctor’s registration.
  • To erase the doctor’s name from the Medical Register so they can no longer practise.

Where the panel makes a finding on disputed facts, it applies the civil standard of proof, i.e. on the balance of probabilities/above 51%. However, this is a very low threshold compared to the threshold used in criminal proceedings.

It uses its judgment when the panel decides whether or not the doctor’s fitness to practise is impaired. The same applies when the panel decides what sanctions to impose upon the doctor.

The panel must be satisfied that any proposed action is sufficient to protect patients and the public interest.

Even if a panel concludes that the doctor’s fitness to practise is not impaired, it may issue a warning to the doctor.

Fitness to practice appeals

Doctors have a right to appeal to the High Court (Court of Session in Scotland) against any decision by a panel to restrict or remove their registration. The fitness to practise appeal is particularly important if the decision was wrong or there was a serious procedural irregularity.

However, healthcare professionals should also remember that the professional standards authority for health and social care may also appeal against certain decisions if they consider the decision was too lenient.

FTP Hearings Solicitors

If you require assistance regarding fitness to practice hearing, don’t hesitate to contact our experienced team on 01204 565 006.

Lexadeen Solicitors - Manchester - Cheshire- Staffordshire

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