Dear General Medical Council,
Please elaborate on the policy of the GMC in a case where a doctor has had a Fitness to Practise Hearing and the information recorded makes it plain that the doctor has committed a number of crimes. Is it the policy of the GMC to report these to the Police? What action would be taken in respect of these otherwise?
I have a specific case in mind, that of Dr Pablo Jeczmien who had a Fitness to Practise Hearing for which the link is here: https://www.gmc-uk.org/doctors/6033482 Reading the contents of the Hearing, it is clear that a number of criminal offences were committed by Jeczmien. The GMC treated all of these in a relatively trivial way, just considering these as Misconduct. He received a token penalty only. What are the criteria for deciding on the nature of the category of offence under the Fitness to Practise regulations?
It is of great public concern that he committed criminal offences and was allowed to remain on he Medical Register. What is the policy of the GMC when a doctor commits criminal offences considering patient safety and the wider public interest?
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Dear Mr Golding,
Your information request - IR1-2617133459
Thank you for your email dated 14 February, in which you ask for the
o To know if it is the policy of the GMC to report to the police
instances when a doctor has had a Fitness to Practise Hearing and the
information recorded makes it plain that the doctor has committed a
number of crimes and what action would be taken in respect of these
o What are the criteria’s for deciding on the nature of the category of
offence under the Fitness to Practise regulations
o To what the policy of the GMC is when a doctor commits criminal
offences considering patient safety and the wider public interest
How we will consider your request
We’re going to consider your request under the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (FOIA). The FOIA gives us 20 working days to respond, but we’ll come
back to you as soon as we can.
Who to contact
Mark Ellen will be handling your request. If you have any questions you
can call him on 0161 923 6347 or email him at [email address].
Information Access Team Assistant
0161 240 8356
General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street
Dear Mr Golding
Thank you for your e-mail of 14 February 2020 in which you ask about our
fitness to practise process. Our role as the medical regulator is to
protect the public, which means acting in a way that protects, promotes
and maintains the health, safety and well-being of the public, promotes
and maintains public confidence in the profession, and promotes and
maintains proper professional standards and conduct.
In relation to fitness to practise, our legislation, the Medical Act
1983 (‘the Act’), sets out six categories under which we can find that a
doctor’s fitness to practise is impaired, which are:
b. deficient professional performance
c. a conviction or caution in the British Islands for a criminal offence,
or a conviction elsewhere for an offence which, if committed in
England and Wales, would constitute a criminal offence
d. adverse physical or mental health
e. not having the necessary knowledge of English
f. a determination by another health regulatory body, in the United
Kingdom or elsewhere, that their fitness to practise is impaired.
When we investigate a complaint we have to decide on a case by case basis
which of these categories the allegation falls into. An allegation will
only meet the category of impairment on the basis of a conviction or
caution if the doctor has already been convicted or received a caution,
not if we consider they might be convicted or receive a caution in the
future. In these cases the police will already be aware of the events
leading to the doctor’s conviction or caution, and in most cases will have
referred the allegation to us.
Where there is a serious or persistent breach of our guidance that relates
to a doctor’s behaviour, but there is no conviction or caution, this is
most often investigated as an allegation of impaired fitness to practise
under the category of misconduct. Findings of impairment on the basis of
misconduct carry the same possible sanctions as a finding under the
category for a conviction or caution. A tribunal can impose conditions, a
suspension or erase a doctor’s name from the medical register under both
of those categories. Sanctions restrict a doctor’s ability to practise in
the UK, which is significant regulatory action.
There are other times where we may receive information during an
investigation that gives us reasonable grounds to believe that that a
criminal offence may have been committed by the doctor, and the police are
not aware of the matter. We do have the power in these cases (under
section 35B(2) of the Act) to share this information with the police where
the information relates to a doctor’s fitness to practise and if we
consider it to be in the public interest. Since 2017, we have had guidance
(attached) for our decision makers in order to help our staff identify
information which may need to be shared with the police and to do so
appropriately ensuring any disclosure is proportionate and lawful. Where a
case is referred to the MPTS for a hearing, it’s possible that further
information giving us reasonable grounds to believe a criminal offence may
have been committed comes to light during the hearing. In that scenario,
the same principles in the guidance on Sharing information with the police
are applied in order to determine whether a police referral is necessary.
If a decision has been made at any point in the fitness to practise
process to share information with the police we would not routinely
disclose this information.
I hope that this information is helpful to you.
Information Access Team
General Medical Council
3 Hardman Street
Manchester M3 3AW
Direct Line: 0161 923 6347
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