Balance Street Health Centre, Uttoxeter

The request was partially successful.

Dear General Medical Council,

Can you tell me how many complaints have been made against doctors working at this surgery in the last 10 years? The full address of this surgery is:

Balance Street Health Centre
ST14 8JG

Yours faithfully,

Charlie Foulkes

FOI, General Medical Council

Dear Ms Foulkes

Your information request F13/5189/ME

Thank you for your email of 19 January 2013 asking for information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

We will consider your request and give you the information as soon as we can, normally within the 20 working day limit set by the FOIA.

Please note that there may be some information which we cannot release to you under the FOIA. If this is the case, we will let you know why and state the relevant exemptions given in the FOIA. We will also give you information about how to appeal our decision.

I have allocated your request to Mark Ellen. If you have any questions, please contact him on 0161 923 6347 or email [email address].

Kind regards

Gayle Impey

Dr Gayle Impey
Information Access Team Administrator
General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street, Manchester M3 3AW
[email address]
0161 923 6286

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Mark Ellen (0161 923 6347), General Medical Council

Dear Ms Foulkes


Ref: IAT/ME/F13/5189


Thank you for your e-mail of 19 January 2013 in which you ask about the
GMC complaint history of doctors at the Balance Street Health Centre,


I have identified 6 doctors who are working at this surgery.


I should take this opportunity to provide some background regarding how we
handle complaints made against doctors. When we receive a complaint about
a doctor an initial decision is made by our Fitness to Practise
Directorate as to whether an investigation should be conducted. If an
investigation takes place, on completion of the investigation, the
complaint will be considered by two senior GMC staff (one medical and one
non-medical). They can conclude the case, issue a warning, agree
undertakings with the doctor or refer the case to a Fitness to Practise
(FTP) Panel for a hearing. FTP Panel hearings are usually held in public,
although may be held in private if discussing a doctor’s health or any
other confidential matter. It is at the hearing stage that details
regarding the case may be made publicly available. Outcomes of FTP Panel
hearings are published on our website. Details of any current restrictions
on a doctor’s practise are also made publicly available. Further
information about our investigation process can also be found on our
website at


I can confirm that each of the doctors at Balance Street Surgery holds
full registration with the GMC and none has any restrictions or warnings
on their registration. I can also confirm that there are no complaints
against these doctors that have been heard by a FTP Panel.


As to whether any other complaints have been made against these doctors
which have not resulted in a hearing or restrictions on their
registration, I must confirm that we are under no obligation to provide
this information. Therefore we are unable to confirm the existence or
non-existence of any such complaints against them. This is because we
believe this information to be subject to the following exemption listed
in the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA):


Section 40(5)(b)(i) of the FOIA states that the duty to confirm or deny
whether information is held does not arise if the act of confirmation or
denial would breach any of the principles of the Data Protection Act 1998
(DPA). We believe that it is reasonable for doctors to expect that, if
complaints are made against them which are not progressed to a public
hearing or do not result in any action upon their registration, whether or
not such complaints had been made would be kept confidential and would not
be released into the public domain. Therefore, we believe that to confirm
or deny the existence or non-existence of any other complaints made
against these doctors would breach the principles of the DPA.


In accordance with the FOIA this letter acts as a refusal notice. You have
the right of appeal against this notice. If you wish to appeal you should
set out in writing your grounds for doing so and e-mail Julian Graves,
Information Access Team Manager, at [1][email address].   You also have
a further right of appeal to the Information Commissioner. If applicable,
Mr Graves will provide you with details of this further right of appeal.



Yours sincerely

Mark Ellen




Mark Ellen

Information Access Team

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester  M3 3AW

Direct Line: 0161 923 6347


Unless otherwise expressly agreed by the sender of this email, this
communication may contain privileged or confidential information which is
exempt from disclosure under UK law. This email and its attachments may
not be used or disclosed except for the purpose for which it has been

If you are not the addressee or have received this email in error, please
do not read, print, re-transmit, store or act in reliance on it or any
attachments. Instead, please email the sender and then immediately delete

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street, Manchester, M3 3AW

Regents Place, 350 Euston Road, London, NW1 3JN

The Tun, 4 Jacksons Entry, Holyrood Road, Edinburgh, EH8 8AE

Regus House, Falcon Drive, Cardiff Bay, CF10 4RU

9th Floor, Bedford House, 16-22 Bedford Street, Belfast, BT2 7FD

The GMC is a charity registered in England and Wales (1089278) and
Scotland (SC037750)


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Dear Mark Ellen (0161 923 6347),

The DPA does not exempt you from releasing data that refers only to general numbers, such as this request. Neither have I asked you for any further detail such as whether the complaint was upheld, progressed or otherwise. I would simply like to know HOW MANY were made.

No specific doctor is mentioned in this request and as such I will refer it back to you for an internal review.

Please remember that if you are putting email addresses in replies that they do not show up on the web site anyway and we must email volunteer administrators to get them. So what you are asking me to do is not reasonable.

Yours sincerely,

Charlie Foulkes

Julian Graves (0161 923 6351), General Medical Council

Dear Ms Foulkes

Thank you for your email below. This will receive my attention in line with our comments and complaints procedure for information requests. This sets a target response time of 20 working days. I will endeavour to respond to you within this timeframe.

If you have any further queries in the meantime, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Julian Graves

Julian Graves
Information Access Manager
General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street
M3 3AW

Tel. no: 0161 923 6351
Email: [email address]

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Courtney Brucato (0161 923 6692), General Medical Council

1 Attachment

Our Ref: F13/5189/ME

Dear Ms Foulkes

Please find attached our response to your request for an internal review. I'm sorry for the delay in responding to you. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me.

Yours sincerely,

Courtney Brucato
Information Access Officer
General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street
M3 3AW
Phone: 0161 923 6692

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