Intended for healthcare professionals

Feature Briefing

GMC hearings: Does not attending mean I’m more likely to be struck off?

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: (Published 02 July 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k2831
  1. Anna Sayburn, freelance journalist, London, UK
  1. annasayburn{at}

A High Court judge has said that not attending a regulatory tribunal is courting removal from the medical register. Anna Sayburn examines the claim

Mr Justice Kerr recently said that the General Medical Council should warn doctors who don’t attend Medical Practitioner Tribunal Service (MPTS) tribunals that “the consequences of non-attendance are likely to be severely prejudicial.”1 Does the evidence back this up, and (how) will the GMC be responding to the call?

How do MPTS tribunals work?

The MPTS is a statutory committee of the GMC that acts as an independent tribunal. The GMC refers doctors to the MPTS when “allegations against the doctor suggest such a serious failure of the doctor to meet our standards that, if proven, their fitness to practise would be impaired.”2

At the hearing, the GMC presents evidence on the case against the doctor, and the doctor (or legal representative) can present evidence in defence. Doctors can also provide evidence of “insight” into their actions and “remediation” of failings, which can make a big difference to sanctions imposed.

The outcome can be no action, a warning, conditions on practice, suspension from the medical register, or erasure.

Are doctors who are referred to a tribunal expected to attend?

The MPTS website’s …

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