Practising medical doctors and healthcare professionals in the UK must be registered with GMC and should abide by the norms set by the organization. GMC, for the uninitiated, stands for General Medical Council. When someone makes a complaint, also known otherwise as a “referral”, against a doctor, GMC will initiate an investigation process to check if there was a serious lapse or breach in practices. The accused doctor in such cases is known as a registrant. Expectedly, this can impact the career and reputation of the concerned doctor. In most cases, the GMC will first send a Rule 4 letter, which will give an outline of the referral. If you are the registrant, you need to consult a defence lawyer at the earliest. Below are some of the aspects to know.
Finding a GMC defence solicitor
This is probably the most confusing part of the process. Instead of waiting, check online to find the best law firms in your area. You can also ask around for references. When you meet a GMC defence solicitor, try and understand their background, experienced and the nature of cases they have handled so far. Referrals can be either criminal or regulatory, and in most cases, there can be police investigation. You need to know if the concerned lawyer has worked on both kinds of cases. The whole process of hiring a lawyer and fighting the case can be expensive, which is why knowing the legal expenses is also important.Dealing with Rule 4 and Rule 7 letter
When GMC gets a compliant, they usually send a Rule 4 letter to the registrant. At this point, the next step of the registrant is important, but in some cases, solicitors may simply ask to wait before filing a reply. GMC case examiners will then decide if the referral is worthy of a case or investigation. If they find any possible signs of misconduct or malpractice, they will refer the case to Medical Practitioners Tribunal or MPTS and send a warning to the registrant. What needs more attention is a Rule 7 letter, which basically means that the GMC has completed the investigation process. The letter will contain the outline of the referral along with related evidence, and the registrant has 28 days to respond to the same. At this point, do not delay in seeking legal help- if you haven’t already.
Appealing against MPTS decision
As the registrant, you have the right to appeal against the MPTS decision in the high court, within 28 days. Your lawyer should be able to advice you on this matter because high court actions are complicated and expensive. You may also want to check your insurance policies to see if you can get any financial help, especially if such support is not available from professional or trade organization.There are plenty of GMC defence solicitors out there, but experience and expertise count above everything else. Do your homework and visit this site to take an initial appointment to know more on what they can suggest for your case.