investigating Doctors

susan charnock made this Freedom of Information request to General Medical Council

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear General Medical Council,

what is the process for investigating doctors?

who decides if a complaint should be investigated?

how many complaints have been abandoned without making an investigation?

what system or process do you have to avoid referring every complaint about doctors to the mpts?

Yours faithfully,

susan charnock

FOI, General Medical Council

Thank you for getting in touch.

 

We’ll get back to you as soon as we can with a further acknowledgement.
You’ll usually hear from us on the next working day, but it might take a
little longer during busy periods.

 

In the meantime, if you want any further information about the GMC, please
visit our website.

 

 

Thank you

 

Information access team

General Medical Council

Email: [GMC request email]

Telephone: 0161 923 6365

Working with doctors Working for patients

The General Medical Council helps to protect patients and improve medical
education and practice in the UK by setting standards for students and
doctors. We support them in achieving (and exceeding) those standards, and
take action when they are not met.

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FOI, General Medical Council

Dear Ms Charnock

Your information request – F16/7949/EH 

Thank you for your email dated 16 February asking for information and
statistics about the GMC investigation process.

How we will consider your request 

We’re going to look at 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  

Elizabeth Hiley will be handling your request. If you have any questions
you can call her on 0161 923 6314 or email her at [1][email address]. 

Yours sincerely 

Miss Sadie Jones

Information Assistant

[2][email address]

0161 250 6889

 

General Medical Council

3 Hardman Street

Manchester

M3 3AW

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Elizabeth Hiley (0161 923 6314), General Medical Council

Dear Ms Charnock

Thank you for your request for information about complaints and the investigation process. I've numbered your questions for ease of reference.

1. What is the process for investigating doctors?

Details regarding the investigation process are available on our website. Please see http://www.gmc-uk.org/concerns/the_inves.... This information is therefore subject to the exemption at section 21 of the FOIA (details given below).

2. Who decides if a complaint should be investigated?

When we receive information about a doctor an Assistant Registrar (a specially trained member of GMC staff) decides whether an investigation should be carried out. The Assistant Registrar can seek medical or legal advice where required to inform that decision.

3. How many complaints have been abandoned without making an investigation?

We publish data showing the volume of complaints we receive and what happens to those complaints during our investigations. The annual statistics we publish about our fitness to practise activity are available here: http://www.gmc-uk.org/concerns/24195.asp. Our latest report of the state of medical education and practice in the UK also provides the information you require. This is available at http://www.gmc-uk.org/publications/somep.... Please see pages 60-61 (chapter 2) for a breakdown of the number of enquiries received in 2014 (an enquiry is any piece of information received by the GMC that needs to be assessed to consider whether it raises a question about a doctor's fitness to practise). This provides information on the number closed without investigation. Again, this information is subject to the exemption at section 21 of the FOIA (details given below).

4. What system or process do you have to avoid referring every complaint about doctors to the MPTS?

We do not refer every complaint to the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service. Details of how to access information about the investigation process and data on the number of complaints closed without investigation is provided above.

As the information you ask for regarding the investigation process and the number of complaints closed without investigation is already publically available, we are not obliged to provide it under the FOIA. This is because it is subject to the exemption listed at section 21 of the FOIA. Section 21 of the FOIA applies where the information is already reasonably accessible to the requester.

Even though I’ve provided you with details of where to find the information, I still need to mention that you can appeal my decision to apply the above exemption. If you would like to do so, please set out your reasons and write to Julian Graves, Information Access Manager, at [email address]. You can also appeal to the Information Commissioner, the regulator of the FOIA and DPA – we can provide more details about this if you need them.

If you have any further queries regarding this request please contact me.

Yours sincerely

Elizabeth Hiley
Information Access Officer
General Medical Council

Telephone: 0161 923 6314
Email: [email address]

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