The Medical Practitioners' Tribunal Service: One Year On

Choong, Kartina Aisha orcid iconORCID: 0000-0001-9407-1771 and Barrett, Martin (2014) The Medical Practitioners' Tribunal Service: One Year On. Lex Medicinae, Sp. . pp. 83-94.

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In June 2012, the General Medical Council (GMC) instituted a series of new rules that reformed their fitness to practise work. The most significant change to disciplinary proceedings was the formation of a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) which is led by a former Deputy High Court Judge. Aimed at safeguarding patient safety, the MPTS is an autonomous part of the GMC which will now adjudicate on all cases relating to doctors whose fitness to practise is called into question. With the new development, the GMC will continue to collect evidence and carry out the investigations, but the cases will be adjudicated by the tribunal which is empowered to impose sanctions against doctors’ registration. The fitness to practise panels which sit on these hearings are made up of medical and lay members who receive specific training and are regularly appraised. The hearings are conducted in public and the tribunal is accountable to Parliament. The GMC had hoped that the change would bolster public and professional confidence that these hearings are impartial, fair and transparent. They have described the change as “the biggest shake-up of fitness to practise hearings since they were first established in 1858” (GMC Press Release, 11 June 2012). This paper takes a look at the profile of the cases which the MPTS heard in the first year of its operation and assesses its scope for improving patient safety.

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