The ‘Knock-on effect’ of mental health: its implications for misconduct, impairment and sanction
The medical profession faces the twin pressures of increasingly pervasive regulation and an increased public appetite for seeking redress. During their careers, many doctors will face a complaint or an allegation brought against them which, if serious, may threaten their reputation and ability to earn a living. Specialist legal advice is essential to ensure the best possible outcome.
Our regulatory team has been advising and representing doctors for years. We are recognised specialists in the field of professional regulation and understand the exigencies of the practice of medicine. We have a track record for securing better than expected outcomes for doctors facing complaints.
Many doctors fear that the involvement of the GMC will inexorably result in their case being referred to a public hearing before the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS). Our experience, and the statistics, do not support this fear. The focus of our early work with our doctor clients is to get cases closed at the early ‘Case Examiner’ stage. Early engagement with the GMC’s process and the provision of a clearly reasoned response at this stage can secure unexpected results.
Our clients are individually supported, right from the beginning of our instruction and assisted to understand the process they are involved in, their options and the best way through. Many of our doctor clients require the input of our specialist criminal, employment or reputation management teams (if they face a police investigation, suspension from work or possible adverse press reporting for example). We can quickly mobilise a diverse team of legal specialists to provide advice that looks at the problem from all angles.
We have acted in the following recent matters :
We understand how daunting an investigation by your regulatory body can be; we will do all we can to support you throughout the process. We have produced a handy overview of the investigation process which you can view here.
The Interim Orders Tribunal do not make findings of fact. The purpose of the hearing is to decide whether a doctor’s practice needs to be restricted whilst an investigation is on-going. We will discuss with you the steps needed to prepare for this hearing, including collating relevant documents and evidence. Our experience helps us to accurately guide you as to the likely outcome and how to prepare for this.
Hearings are usually held in public, unless the allegation relates to the doctor’s health, or there is some other compelling reason why the hearing should be held in private.
Prior to the formal opening of the hearing, any preliminary legal arguments may be raised and determined by the Tribunal.
The case will then be opened, by way of the charge being read and any admissions can be entered. Additionally, if any amendments to the charge are required, they will be dealt with at this stage.
Please see steps 7 to 8 of our brochure for further detail of what happens at a hearing which you can access here.
It is a requirement of Good Medical Practice that doctors who are registered promptly advise the GMC if, anywhere in the world:
We regularly assist doctors in obtaining registration with the GMC. We can discuss your individual needs with you, and provide you with advice on the steps required.
An appeal must be lodged with the relevant court within 28 days of the decision by the Tribunal and as such, you must act promptly. We will advise you on the merits of any appeal and assist you in preparing the grounds and in ensuring that the necessary documents are lodged with the court within the appropriate timescales. We will also ensure that you are appropriately represented at any hearing.
We offer assistance to doctors in staying up to date with legal and ethical issues, recent examples include:
We regularly update on cases and matters of interest which affect doctors. Examples can be accessed here:
...'They understand that there are risks in everything one does and we work together in mitigating the risks'...
Chambers UK, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession, 2014
When it comes to healthcare-related matters, Kingsley Napley LLP is a ‘force to be reckoned with’, and ‘shines as an exemplar of a quality practice’.
Legal 500 UK 2013
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