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More doctors have no legal representation at GMC hearings

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f4088 (Published 25 June 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f4088
  1. Clare Dyer
  1. 1BMJ

A growing number of doctors who face charges of misconduct or deficient performance by the UK’s medical regulator have no legal representation at hearings, show figures from the General Medical Council.

The statistics, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, indicate that nearly half the doctors who faced hearings in recent periods have been unrepresented.

The GMC has supplied figures for three periods: October to December 2011, May to July 2012, and January to March 2013.

The three sets of figures are not directly comparable. One set does not specifically mention review hearings (those held to decide whether a suspension or restrictions should continue). Another set excludes interim order panel hearings, which have power to restrict a doctor’s practice pending a full hearing. But all show that a substantial proportion of doctors are unrepresented when their cases are heard.

Of 166 fitness to practise and interim order panel hearings …

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