Intended for healthcare professionals


New panellists sought to adjudicate in GMC fitness to practise hearings

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 08 June 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d3578
  1. Helen Jaques, news reporter
  1. 1BMJ Careers
  1. hjaques{at}

The General Medical Council is seeking medical and non-medical individuals to sit in judgment at its fitness to practise panels.

Successful applicants will be required to hear evidence in fitness to practise hearings, decide whether the allegations are proved, and decide whether the doctor’s fitness to practise is impaired and, if so, what action is required.

Candidates must have the intellectual and analytical ability to make sound judgments, the General Medical Council has said, and they need to be open minded and objective. Women and individuals from black and minority ethnic backgrounds are particularly encouraged to apply.

The current recruitment campaign is the first campaign for new panellists in five years and aims to replace panellists whose terms of office are due to expire next year.

Fitness to practise hearings usually have three panellists, at least one of whom must be a doctor and another a non-medical individual. Panellists serve a four year term and can be appointed to a second four year term subject to satisfactory performance, but cannot serve more than two consecutive terms.

“The work of both medical and lay panellists is crucial in maintaining public confidence in the profession,” said Niall Dickson, chief executive of the General Medical Council. “We need individuals of the highest calibre to apply, and for the successful candidates we will provide thorough training to make sure that they fully understand their role and responsibilities.”

The closing date for applications is 19 June 2011. Candidates can obtain further information about the posts and apply online at

The GMC is holding a series of sessions where individuals considering applying to be a fitness to practise panellist can learn more about the role and the work of the General Medical Council. Candidates interested in attending one of the sessions should contact For further details.

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